management science and administrative theory

management science and administrative theory

a set of universal principles and concepts concerned with the formal theory of organization (see ORGANIZATION THEORY). Sometimes referred to as the ‘classical school of management’, this approach developed in the early 20th-century, Henri Fayol (1841-1925) being the principle exponent of the movement. The ideas of the early management scientists contained a general set of principles concerned with efficient management practice and formal organization design: these included the principle of ‘unity of command’ (each person reports to only one boss) and ‘hierarchy of authority’ (authority runs down the organization from top to bottom). These principles were translated into an organizational blueprint or formal organizational chart which advocated ‘tall’ hierarchies of authority with 'S mall’ spans of control. In other words, each position in a chain of command is responsible for a small number of subordinates. This form of organization was thought to increase efficiency and limit conflict.

Formal theories of organization complemented Taylor's principles of SCIENTIFIC MANAGEMENT by extending his study of the foreman and job design to management and the whole organization. Formal theories of administration have been influential in business and public administration; in the sociology of organizations they have been criticized as prescriptive and lacking in terms of empirical evidence or theoretical analysis of organization structure and behaviour. See also CONTINGENCY THEORY, FORMAL AND INFORMAL STRUCTURE, INTELLECTUAL LABOUR.

Full browser ?