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Classical & Contemporary Management Theories - Essay Writing Assessment Answers

December 28, 2017
Author : Charles Hill

Solution Code: 1ACGE

Question: Classical & Contemporary Management Theories

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Classical & Contemporary Management Theories Essay Writing

Task

Writing a good academic essay requires solid research, critical evaluation of theory in light of contemporary research and practice, and persuasive, well-structured information and argument. Your essay should include a critical review of the relevant theories that underpin the area of management and illustrate how the theories inform your discussion or argument. It is critical that you access a range of credible academic sources in the preparation of your essay.

1. be able to understand the principal historical and current approaches to the study of management

2. apply the various theories of management to particular management situations

3. understand the tasks and competencies required in the practice of management

5. demonstrate basic competencies in the written and oral presentation of academic work

Question 1:

‘A 1960s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) would undoubtedly be amazed at the 24/7 customer service and real-time supply chains but he or she would find many of today's management practices little changed from those being used a generation or two ago’. Do you agree with this statement? Support your argument with reference to classical and contemporary management theory.

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Solution:

Introduction

In the past 50 years management practices have changed to a very great extent. With the changes in external environment and expectations of the customers the management practices are redesigned and due to that a number of vital changes can be traced in the management practices then and now(Wright, 2008). The globalisation has result into increased competitiveness and this is again a potential factor why contemporary theories of management have evolved over the time. The essay takes into consideration classical theories and contemporary theories of management to discuss about the changes that have taken place during all these years. It is argued by many researchers and scholars that a CEO of 1960’s and a CEO of 2016 have totally different approaches of managing the organisations and this is the central issue of this essay(Aguinis et al., 2016). The aspects of providing services have also changed during these years and this will also be a major part of the discussion. This will be discussed with reference to a number of academic theories and approaches.

Contemporary theories of Management and its issues

Contemporary theories are the modern theories that abstracted from classical theories and they are able to more appropriately address the current issues in management. The contemporary theories have evolved because traditional/classical theories have not been able to address management problems effectively. Thus the major reason behind evolution of contemporary theory is to address the modern issues in the organisations. Over the years management practices have changed to a very great extent and contemporary theories are the proof that changes did take place .There are a number of contemporary theories such as systems theory, contingency theory, chaos theory, etc. (Waal, 2014).These theories have different functioning as per the needs of the organisations. For an instance contingency theory takes into account all the aspects of current situations and on the basis of that it enables decision making.

It can be observed here that changes in management practices took place. For instance, there were times when CEOs used to make decisions on the basis of a few aspects that were directly related to the profits of the companies. But the time has changed now and due to increased competitiveness and uncertainties in the market it is very important to take into consideration “it depends” aspect at the time of decision making. This is addressed by contingency theory of management. This is the major change in management practices and perspectives. Another instance to understand the changes that have taken place is to discuss contingency theory. It has become very necessary for the management to take into consideration the situational aspects now and this is done by contingency theory (Tyssen et al., 2013). A very good example of usage of contingency theory of management is described here. The continuing efforts to identify the best management or leadership style might conclude that the best style depends upon the situation. For an instance if one is leading in a university or a hospital then participative leadership will be the best style while leading a troop in Persian Gulf demands an autocratic leadership and management style. In this manner it is clear that situations govern the management styles in current scenario. This was not done two-three decades ago and due to that many problems used to occur and remained unsolved and due to that it can be said that management practices then and management practices now are totally changed.

Similarly Systems theory of management has helped organisations to understand the organisations in a scientific manner. In previous times there was no place for systems theory. The systems theory work on the principle of input and output. Inputs in an organisation include money, technology, people and raw material. Then there is a process through which these inputs go where they are planned, controlled, motivated and organised so as to meet the organisational goals. The output to this process is services or products to the market (John, 2010). The outputs are enhanced quality of services, productivity etc. Systems theory is thus very simple yet no organisations have adopted this theory in past 3-4 decades. But now the organisations have started adopting this theory and the effect of systems theory in organisational setting is worth discussing. In the past CEOs typically used to take one part and focus on that but now the perspective has changed and systems theory has enabled the CEOs to look at the entire system (Jacob, 2014). In past the managers and CEOs used to solve one problem after another and due to that they lack an overall perspective that is now addressed by Systems theory. This again suggests that a number of changes have taken place in the management practices.

Similarly, there is another relevant theory of contemporary management thought and this is chaos theory. This theory suggests that events are not controlled. In previous times managers used to think that events can be controlled and due to that they sometimes failed to take vital decisions. This is why chaos theory of management also changed the way with which managers used to look at various situations(Hill et al., 2015). In this manner the difference in management practices is also ascertained by chaos theory.

This discussion makes it very clear that the management practices in past were totally different as compared to that of now. The contemporary theories have addressed the issues that management was facing. Due to these theories the manner of working has also been changed(Hill et al., 2015). This has not only amazed CEOs of the organisations but also amazed all the stakeholders since decision making has become very easy with these theories of management.

Historical and current approaches to the study of management

The historical approaches to management were the once that were used by the managers during 1900-1950. The most noticeable and significant theories of classical era were scientific management theory, human relations movement, bureaucratic management theory, etc. The scientific management theory of management suggests that tasks in the organisation shall be standardizing as much as possible(Haines, 2012).This management theory was only suitable for a few types of organisations and there were many criticisms to this theory. Under this approach the workers were considered as machines. At one side they were rewarded but at the same time they were punished for not meeting the criteria. This historical approach to management was very cruel with respect to the human side of the organisation. The scientific management theory argued that the most significant thing for an organization is profit. It suggests that if employees are not able to contribute into profits they shall be punished. But this is not true in current context(Fellenz, 2010). Now, managers are very much concerned about the employees and they are not punished often. Now, organisations do not have standardised methods for production, they have such procedures that enable the organisation to act as per the expectations of the customers. The organisations also take care of well being of the employees and this is why more than production the concern is for employees. This is the most significant criticism of scientific management theory and this is the reason that it is not suitable in current context. CEOs, during 1950s used to have strict policies and they forced the employees to follow these policies whether it affects their well-being and due to that the productivity of the employees decreased gradually. To overcome this problem and also consider the human side a human relation movement was proposed. The government and unions reacted to the dehumanizing effects of scientific management and other theories like scientific management(David, 2014).The current approaches of management also take into consideration human relations aspects. This movement focussed on employees and their well being and it also argued that employees and workers are not machines and there shall be policies for their health and well-being. After this a number of policies and regulations have been framed that benefitted the employees in the organisations. It also helped the management of the organisations to achieve success due to higher productivity(Colley, 2007). This suggests that CEOs at that time used to have very different policies as compared to that of now.

There was also a fatal classical theory of management that was bureaucratic management theory. This theory laid down strong lines of control and authority. This theory also suggested that organisations shall develop detailed and comprehensive standard procedures for operating routine tasks. This made organisations very complex and rigid(Best, 2014). The flow of communication also became very rigid and due to that the productivity of employees was affected. This is due to the fact that decision making took a lot of time. But the current theories of management are not like that. The structures of the organisations are very flexible and decision making is very fast. This is the major difference why CEOs then and CEOs now are different in their perceptions and decision making ability. Previously the organisations were profit centric and these theories worked well in some cases but now organisations are customer centric. The current approaches to management are thus very effective and they are able to satisfy the customers and retain them for the long term. This has only become possible due to real time updates on various aspects such as supply chain, 24*7 assistance to the customers, etc (Back et al., 2014).These were not the priorities of the management back then in 1950s.

Tasks and competencies required in the practice of management

The managers in organisations in this century are expected to perform a dynamic role. First of all they shall use modern approaches to the management of the organisations. The most significant duty of a manager in the organisation is to identify the needs of customers and take decisions on the basis of those needs. The managers are required to strike a balance between strategic aspects of the organisations and the satisfaction of the customers(Arif, 2016).The classical approaches did not give customers a significant place in the management of the organisations. But now, to remain competitive it is very important for the managers to provide intense services to the customers. Along with that the managers are also required to take care of all the stakeholders of the organisation. The manager shall involve employees in decision making and rather than following a bureaucratic approach the organisational structure shall be flexible. The manager must make decision in such a way that the wellbeing of employees does not get affected(Andrews & Kenneth, 2012). The modern approach to management also suggests that sustainability is a matter of concern and every organisation shall adopt sustainable policies and practices. Previously the organisations only focussed on earning more and more profit and they were not concerned about environment. But now the managers are expected to follow sustainability practice so that no stakeholder gets negatively affected by the policies of the company. The modern approach to management also supports that ethics is a vital part of management practices and while performing their functions ethics shall not be compromised(Hill et al., 2015). Thus it is a duty of manager to perform management functions within the ethical limits. In this manner the duties, responsibilities and tasks of a manger have changed to a very great extent as compared to that of 1950s.

Conclusion

The comparison between classical theories of management and modern theories of management suggests that in past fifty years a lot has been changed. These changes are very visible in al the organisations. This is why it is true that CEO of 1950s will be amazed by seeing the functioning of the organisations now. Organisations have now become very flexible and all the stakeholders are equally valued. Not only the profit is major objective but satisfaction of the customers is a vital part of management process. Every activity of the organisation that is performed now has a very different perspective and is totally focussed towards the benefits of all the stakeholders of the organization. There were times when managers and CEOs bluntly ignored sustainability, corporate social responsibility, benefits of stakeholders, after sales services to the customers, etc. but now all these aspects play a significant role in deciding management activities. These are the differences that amaze a 1950s CEO.

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