7 types of management theory for better work processes

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7 types of management theory for better work processes

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Understanding and applying the best practices of management theory can help you become more effective in guiding your team towards success. Many of these theories raise a leadership approach that is commonly used to guide and grow the current organization, and you can choose among them to identify the most suitable strategies for you and your team.

Understanding and implementing management theory requires exercises and maybe some experiments and errors. In this article, we explain the most common management theory and share some tips on how you can apply it at work.

What is management theory?

Management theory is a collection of ideas that recommend general rules regarding how to manage organizations or businesses. Management theory discusses how supervisors apply strategies to achieve organizational goals and how they motivate employees to appear on their highest abilities. Usually, leaders apply the concept of various management theories that are most in accordance with their company employees and culture. Although many management theories were created centuries ago, they still provide many useful frameworks to lead teams at work and run today businesses.

Benefits of Management Theory

There are several reasons why leaders must learn and apply management theory, among others:

  • Increased productivity: By using these theories, leaders learn how to utilize their team members as well as possible, improve performance, and increase productivity.
  • Simplified decision making: Management theory gives strategic leaders who accelerate the decision-making process, helping these leaders be more effective in their role.
  • Increased collaboration: leaders learn how to encourage team members participation and increase collaboration at work.
  • Increased objectivity: Management theory encourages leaders to make scientific proven changes rather than relying on their judgment.

Type of management theory

Here are seven important management theories that must be considered:

1. Scientific management theory

Developed by Frederick Taylor, he is one of the first people to learn scientific work achievements. Taylor’s principle recommends that the scientific method must be used to carry out duties at work, as opposed to leaders who rely on their assessment or personal wisdom of team members.

His philosophy emphasizes that forcing people to work hard will produce the most productive workplace. Instead, he recommends simplification of assignments to increase productivity.

He suggested that leaders assign team members for the work that best suits their abilities, train them thoroughly and supervise them to ensure they are efficient in that role.

While the focus is to achieve maximum workplace efficiency by finding the optimal way to complete useful tasks, it ignores individual humanity.

This theory is not practiced at this time in its purest form, but this theory shows leaders of the importance of workplace efficiency, the value ensures team members receive sufficient training and the need for teamwork and cooperation between supervisors and employees.

2. Principles of administrative management theory

Henri Fayol, a senior executive and mining engineer, developed this theory when he examined an organization through the perspectives of managers and situations they might face.

He believes that leaders have six main functions, to predict, plan, coordinate, rule and control, and he develops the principles that describe how leaders must regulate and interact with their team. He suggested that these principles should not be rigid but must be left to managers to determine how they use it to manage efficiently and effectively. The principles he described are:

  • Initiative: It refers to the level of freedom that employees must have to carry out their responsibilities without being forced or ordered.
  • Equality: This principle implies that everyone in the organization must be treated the same and the environment must be friendly.
  • Chain command: This principle says there must be a chain of supervisors from the top level of management to a lower level and communication generally flows from top to bottom. He asserted, there were no hard rules related to the communication process through the command chain.
  • Remuneration of personnel: This principle refers to a statement that there must be monetary and non-monetary remuneration based on the level of performance to create bonds between employees and organizations.
  • Unity Directions: This principle confirms that there should only be one manager per department responsible for coordinating group activities to achieve one goal.
  • Discipline: According to this principle, employees must respect and obediently, and the organization must describe the rules and regulations that clarify the rules, good supervision and system of rewards.
  • Division of labor: This principle confirms that the overall management measures must be divided and that team members must be given responsibility based on their skills and interests to be more effective and efficient.
  • Authority and responsibility: According to this principle, there must be a balance between the authority – the right to give orders and make a decision⁠-and responsibility⁠-obligation of an employee to carry out a predetermined task.
  • Command Unity: This refers to the statement that employees must get orders only from one direct and responsible boss to that person.
  • Subordinated individual interests with public interest: there must be alignment between individual and organizational interests, although the interests of the organization must be prioritized because they will bring benefits to individuals.
  • Culturalization: According to this principle, the top level of authority must be focused on top level management, which has the power to make the most important decisions in an organization.
  • Order: This principle confirms that so that the organization can run smoothly, the right person must be in the right job and therefore, every material and employees must be given a decent place.
  • Work period: According to this principle, employees must have work security to be efficient.
  • Espirit de Corps: This refers to the belief that there must be a team contribution to a united team and that cooperation is always greater than the aggregate of individual performance.
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3. Bureaucratic management theory

Developed by Max Weber, bureaucratic management theory focuses on organizational structuring in hierarchies so that there are clear governance rules. The principles in creating this system include the chain of command, clear division of labor, separation of personal assets and organizations from the owners, rules and regulations that are strict and consistent, careful records and documentation and election and promotion of employees based on performance and qualifications.

This theory has played a key role in setting standards and procedures which are the core of most of the current organizations.

4. Human relations theory

This theory was developed by Elton Mayo, who conducted experiments designed to increase productivity that lay the foundation for the movement of human relations. The focus is on changes in working conditions such as lighting, rest time and the length of work day. Every change he tests meet with performance improvements. In the end, he concluded that the increase was not because of change but the results of the researchers who took care of employees and made them feel valued.

This experiment raises the theory that employees are more motivated by personal attention and become part of a group rather than money or even working conditions.

5. System management theory

This theory confirms that business consists of several components that must work harmoniously so that the larger system functions optimally. The success of the organization, therefore, depends on synergy, interdependence and interrelationship between subsystems. According to this theory, employees are the most important components of a company, and departments, work groups and business units all additional important elements for success.

According to this theory, managers must evaluate patterns and events in the organization to determine the best management approach. They need to collaborate and work together in the program to ensure success.

6. Contingency management theory

Developed by Fred Fiedler, the main focus of this theory is that there is no successful management approach for every organization. Fiedler suggested that the nature of a leader directly related to how effective they led their team. He stressed that there are leadership characteristics that apply to each type of situation and that a leader must be flexible to adapt to changing environments.

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7. X and Y theory

American Social Psychologist, Douglas McGregor, introduced the theory of X and Y in his book, “The Human Side of Enterprise,” where he concluded that two different management styles were guided by their perceptions of the motivation of team members. Managers who consider employees apathetic or do not like their work using an authoritarian X theory.

Y Theory is used by managers who believe that employees are responsible, committed, and have self motivation. This is a participatory management style that raises a more collaborative work environment, while the X theory leads to micro management.

He concluded that large organizations might rely on X theory to make everyone stay focused on the achievement of organizational goals. Smaller business, where employees are part of the decision-making process and where creativity is encouraged, tends to use the theory Y.

Tips for using management theory at work

Here are some tips to help you apply best practices from this management theory at your workplace:

Invest in employee training

As the proposed Taylor in its scientific management theory, you can increase employee productivity by observing the work process and then making policies that recommend best practices.

Invest in training your employees to be more effective in their role. You will usually find that it increases their productivity and improves performance in the workplace as a whole. Human relations theory can also affect productivity, because the attention you provide to team members and interests that you provide to their performance can increase their productivity.

Giving employees strength in making decisions

Take instructions from the theory of human relations by encourage interpersonal relationships and create a collaborative environment. Give your team members more strength in making decisions.

This can mean giving them more control in their role or allowing greater contributions to the department’s purpose and strategy. Consider making sub-groups in your department and allowing the team to have greater decision-making capabilities to achieve organizational goals.

Flatten the organization’s hierarchy

Research shows that leveling hierarchies can improve local innovation and accelerate the decision-making process. This can mean getting rid of senior position or position to inspire a cohesive and collaborative work environment.

This can also mean empowering team leaders with more decision-making capabilities and eliminating the need to fully rise to the command chain to receive approval for decisions.


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