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Max Weber
The conceptualisation of bureaucracy
Since the early 1980s it has become fashionable to criticise bureaucracies for being out of touch with
rapidly changing market conditions. As the first to develop the concept of bureaucratic organisation,
Max Weber has borne the brunt of much of that criticism. This is rather unfair, as Weber did not
promote bureaucracy as something that others should adopt, but merely described it as the most
efficient organisational way of working, and description is not synonymous with advocacy.
Any understanding of the way modern organisations work would be incomplete without at least a
cursory study of Weber, who is commonly described as a founding father (with DurkheInstitute) of
sociology and whose work is also of historic importance from a managerial viewpoint.
Frederick Winslow Taylor
Father of Scientific Management
Peter Drucker is often called ‘the guru’s guru’. Drucker himself would suggest that accolade should be
given to Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856-1917):
“On Taylor’s ‘scientific management’ rests, above all, the tremendous surge of affluence in the last
seventy-five years which has lifted the working masses in the developed countries well above any level
recorded, even for the well-to-do. Taylor, though the Isaac Newton (or perhaps the Archimedes) of the
science of work, laid only first foundations, however. Not much has been added to them since - even
though he has been dead all of sixty years.” (Peter Drucker, Management: Tasks, responsibilities,
practices. Heinemann, 1973).
Abraham Maslow
The Hierarchy of Needs
Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) was a US psychologist and behavioural scientist. He spent part of his
career in industry as well as working as an academic. His “Hierarchy of Needs Theory” was first
presented in 1943 in the US Psychological Review and later developed in his book “Motivation and
Personality”, first published in 1954. His concepts were originally offered as general explanations of
human behaviour but quickly became a significant contribution to workplace motivation theory. They
are still used by managers today to understand, predict and influence employee motivation.
Maslow was one of the first people to be associated with the humanistic, as opposed to a task-based,
approach to management. As people have increasingly come to be appreciated as a key resource in
successful companies, Maslow’s model has remained a valuable management concept.
W Edwards Deming
Total Quality Management
W. Edwards Deming (1900-1993) is widely acknowledged as the leading management thinker in the
field of quality. He is credited as being the most influential catalyst of Japan’s post-war economic
Henry Laurence Gantt
The Gantt Chart
Henry Laurence Gantt's legacy to management is the Gantt Chart. Accepted as a commonplace project
management tool today, it was an innovation of world-wide importance in the 1920s. But the Chart was
not Gantt's only legacy; he was also a forerunner of the Human Relations School of management and
an early spokesman for the social responsibility of business.
Henri Fayol
Planning, Organisation, Command, Coordination,
Henri Fayol (1841-1925) remained comparatively unknown outside his native France for almost a
quarter of a century after his death. Then, Constance Storrs published "General and Industrial
Management" - a translation of his (unfinished) work "Administration Industrielle et Generale Prevoyance, Organisation, Commandment, Controle" - and he posthumously gained widespread
recognition for his work on administrative management. Today he is often described as the founding
father of the Administration School.
Elton Mayo
The Hawthorne Experiments
Professor George Elton Mayo (1880-1949) has secured fame as the leader in a series of experiments
which became one of the great turning-points in management thinking. At the Hawthorne plant of
Western Electric, he discovered that job satisfaction increased through employee participation in
decisions rather than through short-term incentives.
Mayo’s importance to management lies in the fact that he established evidence on the value of a
management approach and style which, although not necessarily an alternative to FW Taylor’s
scientific management, presented facts which Taylorites could not ignore.