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7 Types of Workplace Management Theories

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10th Jan, 2023
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7 Types of Workplace Management Theories

What are management theories?

A collection of concepts known as management theories offer broad guidelines for managing a business or organization. They discuss how supervisors carry out plans to achieve organizational objectives and inspire staff to work to the best of their abilities.

Leaders typically implement ideas from several management philosophies that best fit the members of the team and corporate culture. Even though many management theories date back centuries, they continue to offer valuable frameworks for managing groups in the workplace and operating enterprises.

Advantages of business management theories 

Leaders should examine and use well-established administrative management theory in the workplace for several reasons. Some of them are as follows:

  • Productivity growth

These theories teach leaders how to get the most out of their team members, resulting in better performances and more production.

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  • Decision-making made easier

Management theories provide leaders with strategies that expedite the judicial process, enhancing their effectiveness in their positions.

  • Enhanced cooperation

Leaders acquire the skills to promote team member participation and boost overall group cooperation.

  • Greater objectivity

Management theories advise leaders to make improvements that have been confirmed by science rather than relying solely on their intuition.

7 Kinds of Workplace Management Theories 

When you are in a workplace environment, several theories can help in the organization’s successful management. Stated here are the seven main types of workplace management theories. 

Scientific Management Theory

The principles of scientific management are task supervision, thorough training, commitment delegation, mathematical analysis, specialization, and standardization. Fredrick Taylor started using scientific experiments to unleash the workforce’s full potential in the late 1800s. The study from the 19th century highlighted the limitations of using intuition to make decisions. On the other hand, employing a scientific method can significantly increase staff productivity. This improved considerably since it corresponds to the scientific management paradigm, which favors task delegation based on personal knowledge. One of the merits of the theory is that it puts such a strong emphasis on optimization.

According to scientific management theory, this is the only approach to raising business productivity. The drawback of the management paradigm is that it sacrifices people’s demands in the name of optimization. The modern employee might not love this method very much. The disadvantage is that micromanagement receives an unreasonably disproportionate amount of attention. This emphasizes tackling issues alone, at the sacrifice of creativity.

Theory of Administrative Management

Henri Fayol created the organizational management theory in the early 1900s, which is still seen as a very oriented approach. Fayol established fourteen principles that, in his opinion, laid the groundwork for robust and profitable businesses. It’s essential to note that while Fayol shared many of Taylor’s beliefs and views, the primary distinction between the two is that. In contrast, Taylor focused on finding the best way to complete the project, and Fayol emphasized the organizational structure of an organization.

One of Fayol’s guiding principles was ensuring that each employee had just one direct management and a positive manager-employee connection. The idea that everyone in a corporation should align with organizational goals is another crucial component of Fayol’s administrative management theory. Organizational structure, in Fayol’s opinion, is essential to a company’s effectiveness and success.

Fayol came up with 14 principles of management that spell out how managers ought to direct their staff. Big corporations still follow these tenets to run their operations.

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Theory of Bureaucratic Management

According to the bureaucratic concept, a clear hierarchy should be formed, and a well-designed management framework should be in place. According to this management approach, personnel should be hired or promoted based on their abilities and past performance. Furthermore, it emphasizes the need to adhere to rules and regulations, specific data collecting and record-keeping, the division of founders’ personal and business assets, the division of work, and a defined hierarchy.

This managerial approach, created by Max Weber, outlined guidelines and standards that are still in style today.

These five principles are highlighted by management theory:

1. Specialization of the assignment

Max Weber thought each individual should have a specific task they were expected to complete.

2. Official Choice

Leaders are not permitted to participate based on popular opinion. If they are qualified, they are invited to apply. Management should only be given to qualified individuals.

3. Command and control

Max Weber emphasized the importance of an explicit and appropriate delegation of authority.

4. Neutral

Promotions and other rewards should be based on merit, not personal tastes or feelings. As a result, the organization’s operations should be impersonal and follow these rules.

5. Responsibilities and rules

Max Weber stated having regulations that ensure uniform standards inside enterprises. In addition, everyone’s duties should be thoroughly understood.

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Theory of Human Relations Management

Research on the length of breaks, office illumination, and other workplace characteristics led to the development of the Human Relations Theory. Elton Mayo created it through studies on productivity improvement. He laid the foundation for the advancement of human research with his work. In his experiments, he continually changed some things, and productivity increased. He believed that the team members’ sense of value and the care the researchers gave them helped more with these changes. The changes were incidental.

According to the human relations theory, people are motivated more by a sense of worth and the opportunity to work as a team than by their working environment and financial remuneration. The “behavioral management theory,” developed by Mary Parker Follett, Elton Mayo, and Abraham Maslow, also comprehends worker motivation, including wants and goals, objectives, and group dynamics.

Theory of Systems Management

According to the systems theory, a company can function effectively if its subsystems are coordinated and interdependent. It believes the company to be made up of numerous subsystems working together towards success. According to systems theory, all workgroups, divisions, and units contribute significant value. However, the workers are what make up the heart of any firm.

According to systems theory, the optimum approach must consider internal tendencies. To meet the goals, the management and teams must work together. Business unit coordination has considerable potential to benefit the organization. This, however, does not adequately explain how most organizations function since the units are distinct. Due to this, subpar performance might negatively impact the entire company without directly harming some other units.

Management Theory X&Y

Douglas McGregor created the X&Y Management Theory by proposing that all managers can be divided into two groups based on his findings. The first group, called Theory X, says managers have a poor opinion of their workers and think they must be coerced or forced to work. Theory X Managers sometimes micromanage because they believe their staff won’t be driven to do their work independently. This notion can be directly traced to scientific management theory, which stresses output over employee input and development.

On the other end of the scale, Theory Y managers think that employees are driven to do their duties by an innate motivation. Theory Y managers recognize how crucial it is to support their workers’ success by giving them growth opportunities. The focus of Theory Y is the difference between cooperation and solo effort. According to McGregor, teamwork and focusing on each employee’s professional growth lead to more excellent outcomes and a more positive workplace atmosphere. The significance of Theory Y is continuously being shown, and it is still used in the corporate world today.

Theory of Contingency Management

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According to the contingency management theory, no management theory has been applied universally. How successfully a manager leads their team reflects on their leadership qualities. There might be some leadership traits that are favorable to everyone. However, good management adapts frequently to the situation they are in.

Fred Fiedler created this management philosophy and subsequently amended it to a larger business organization. He argued that there couldn’t be a single management theory applied to all companies. Instead, he outlined the following three factors as those that should dictate management theory and commercial approach:

  • The size of the company
  • The utilized technology
  • The overall hierarchy’s leadership

Hence, any leadership that applies the contingent management theory must first evaluate each scenario on its own before creating the management strategy. When the need comes, implementations should likewise be prompt and confident. The modern theory of management embraces this theory.


Knowing the different management theories will help you understand how an organization functions. If you want to learn more in detail about the seven types of workplace management theories, check out upGrad’s Master of Business Administration at Liverpool Business School course. You will learn everything from scratch about administrative management theory and more!


Kamal Jacob

Blog Author
Kamal is an experienced Online marketing consultant with a high degree of expertise in SEO, Web Analytics, Content/Technical planning and marketing.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1What are the five primary functions of management theories?

Henri Fayol defines the five primary functions as - organize, plan, coordinate, command, and control.

2What are the different kinds of management theories?

Management theories can be divided into three types: behavioral, modern, and classical management theory.

3What are the six management styles?

The six types of management styles are: 1) Commanding 2) Visionary 3) Affiliative 4) Democratic 5) Pacesetting 6) Coaching

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