Top 8 Schools of Management Thought

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Top 8 Schools of Management Thought

Management is one of the oldest arts dating back to the beginnings of civilisations. Excepting some attempts to study the art of administration or management systematically in some of the leading civilisations of the world, the management discipline or science is relatively of recent origin.

Beginning with an examination of the functions performed by the executives, the process of management has been studied by the scholars drawn from a number of disciplines. The stream of management has swelled with rich contributions from all the various disciplines. As a result different management theories have emerged.

Each of these reflects a specialist angle of the contributors from a particular discipline. For a long time, there was no communication among the various disciplines on the concept and process of management. As a result, there is a great measure of confusion leading to a situation which Harold Koontz has described as the “management theory jungle”.

The various approaches to the study of management as propounded by specialists from different disciplines have come to be called the schools of management thought. Attempts have been made by writers on management to identify the major schools of thought in management. Though they refer to essentially the same schools, they have used different terms and expressions.

Some of the well-known contributions in this regard are given below:

  1. According to Haynes and Massie, the streams of thought in management are quantitative concepts, managerial economics, accounting, universal principles of management, scientific management, human relations and behavioural science.
  2. According to Ernest Dale, management writers may be divided into classicists and behaviourists.
  3. Newman, summers and Warren refer to the various schools as productivity approach, behavioural approach, rationalistic model approach and institutional approach.
  4. According to George Terry, the various schools are-

(a) Management by custom

(b) Scientific management school

(c) Human behaviour school

(d) Social behaviour school

(e) Systems management school

(f) Decisional management school.

According to Harold Koontz, the major schools of management thought are:

(a) Management process school

(b) Empirical school

(c) Human behaviour school

(d) Social system school

(e) Decision school

(f) Mathematical school.

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