Management theories are a dime a dozen. They are everywhere. The moment you go to the bookstores, you will see these theories scattered all throughout various sections concerning leadership and self-improvement along with any other applicable genre. There are many books about management theories that are stating that they contain the best information out there and they may be correct but like many other disciplines, management varies greatly depending on the situation and the people involved. The appropriateness of these theories about management is based on the perspective of the people who worked hard to learn the most effective strategies and on the specifics of the concerned companies. While it is great to explore these theories, many people do not have all the power needed to begin implementing a new management theory and so they go on being informative but only rarely practical. Yet, we are all given the opportunity at times to modify some things once we become established and have control over certain responsibilities within our organizations. This is where our implementation of these management theories or concepts can help at the micro level.
Which Management Theories Are Right for Me and My Organization
Generally we can say that the most common classifications of management theories lie in four main categories. Those categories are:
- Classical or Scientific – Based on specific efficiency metrics derived from and tailored to the needs of the situation where employed.
- Behavioral – Focused more on the people aspects of leadership and the nature of the team itself as an entity.
- Systems – Treats the organization as a complex system requiring balance and finesse wherein the best solution at a micro level may have further unseen implications reducing it’s effectiveness in the larger picture.
- Political – More dependent on the balance of opposing and aligning powers within the organization. May not be based as closely on the true needs of the organization but rather the opinions or wants of those who have the power to decide.
There are many managers who are suffering from difficult choices concerning different management theories and approaches to leadership in general. Moreover, there are so many top bosses who are forever latching on to the specific management theories and trying to implement these them within their respective organizations without regard to big picture or broader scope. But often, the concepts of these theories turn out to be the flavor-of-the-month and may not be tailored specifically enough to the particular environment where they are needed. There are so many managers who are introducing new initiatives and providing employees with training and direction at the beginning of a new task or function, but once the instructions have been given to the employees, the program or training sometimes easily fades away.
Avoid Flavor of the Month; Apply the Tried And True Concepts
Of course, there are many managers who are searching for “panacea” or a one size fits all, all-encompassing solution to leadership. Unfortunately, this does not exist. One good example of this is the MBO or Management by Objectives. The powerful principles from Peter Crucker are the foundation for this. According to this principle, the performance of the manager is better if they are aware of what the expectations of their employees to them. Because of this principle, MBO was said to promote forward in terms of the capabilities of managers. This then leads to the success of the business because the management is tailored to the specific needs of the organization.
In terms of management theories, they say that the Policy Deployment philosophy is similar to the MBO. Based from the description of PA Consulting Group, this is a fully integrated bottom up and top down management system wherein there are more or less three breakthrough means and targets are ascertained and being implemented and requires full participation from the alignment of managers.
But then, the PD management theory or philosophy will allow individual to share both their objectives and the plan improvements they have imagined. On the other hand, MBO will set targets that are regardless of when or how the targets will be met. Moreover, PD is also concerned with the general processes and will allow for less mistakes leading to generation of more accurate results. The PD theorists believe that there is no existence of panaceas and they also believe that the errors will happen and will require correction. The correction of which will provide a solution that is even more tailored to the specific application which makes for quite a versatile management theory overall.
Applying the Management Theories
But then, you have to remember that management theories cannot be expected to provide impossible results overnight. There will always be a period of time needed that is required for the management theories to be properly implemented. Often, there is also a failure of top management to accept and support any implementation of these management theories. Always bear in mind that if there is someone who will refuse to participate, it may collectively harm the whole system and the company. That is why mutual participation and upper management support is generally needed in the implementation of management theories within an organization.
For more information about specific management theories, there are numerous resources and references on the web and in your local library.