The paper 'The Paradox of Studying the Past is That It Illuminates the Present ' is a wonderful example of a Management Assignment. The paradox of studying the past is that it illuminates the present, and perhaps also the future- Following this statement discuss how the aspects of management theories from the past can be applied to contemporary management practice. The world views the past as long gone and that it should be forgotten. Most individuals perceive the past as history and something that should not be dwelt on if one needs to make it successfully in the present and probably in the future.
They say it is better to leave the past in the past and focus on the present, and that yesterday is gone and tomorrow is another day. However, various studies have shown that the past illuminates the present, and perhaps also the future. This paper will discuss how the aspects of management theories from the past can be applied to contemporary management practice. Management is not a new idea as an application of early forms of management concepts has taken place throughout history.
The understanding of managerial practices today is owed to the theorists of the past who attempted to understand the best way to operated businesses. The management theories of the past include Fredrick Taylor’ s Scientific Management Theory (1890-1940), Max Weber’ s bureaucratic management theory (1930-1950), Henry Fayol’ s administrative management theory and neoclassical management theory (Wren & Bedeian, 2009). These management theories have enlightened the present and probably will continue with the future. Scientific management theory was founded by Fredrick Taylor between 1890-1940. At the inception of this theory, many organizations were industrialized and large and included routine tasks that produced many various products.
The management practice was the same from organization to organization. Taylor developed the scientific management theory to advocate for specification and measurement of all tasks in the organization. Scientific management theory focused on the movement of tasks efficiently. The theory advocates matching of workers to their tasks based on their capabilities and motivation, and train them how to carry out their tasks at maximum efficiency. The theory asserts that supervision and monitoring of employee’ s performance and provision of instructions ensures that the most working ways are used.
Workers and managers are to be allocated to work in such a way that managers focus on time planning and training, allowing employees to perform their work efficiently. According to Taylor, a well-designed job states that the employee would be motivated to be more productive and efficient. This theory changed the scope and purpose of factory workers (Sonia, Golden, MP & Toombs, 2011). The roles of managers changed from one that bullied employees to complete their tasks to skilled managers who could supervise the production aspect of works in order to increase production efficiency.
Standardization of work was done; workers who performed better were rewarded while those who performed poorly were punished. However, this approach only works well for organizations with routinized activities and assembly lines. In addition, workers are not given a chance to freely express their individuality in their tasks. Greater power is given to management and employees are reduced to automatons. Scientific management theory has major contributions to modern management practice as much as is a theory of the past.
Though Taylor is not practiced purely today, scientific management provided advancement of management practice. The theory links productivity and output with financial gain for employees to earn more. It also includes providing a safe work environment that would reduce injuries at work. In contemporary management, Taylor’ s sentiments are used including total quality management, bonuses, financial incentives, and pay-related performance. Employees who work well hard and excellently are promoted while those who work poorly are demoted or fired. The cooperation of workers and managers has been developed into teamwork in organizations today.
Scientific management introduced systematic employee selection and training procedures used in management today; it supported systematic organizational design ideas and opened the door to study efficiency at the workplace (Rahman, 2013).
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