Classical Management and Organization Today

This course starts from a challenging assignment on discovering Four Fundamental Theories essential in understanding how organization study has developed. To put the information in order, let us look at the picture:

Each idea contributes to a specific level of management. Taylor’s Scientific Management regulates industrial processes on a micro-level while Weber’s Bureaucracy forms a skeleton or frame of the entire company. Furthermore, Fayol’s Administrative Theory defines the way of communication and subordination. The cherry on top is Simon’s contribution – Administrative Behavior. The theory helps revive the structure and adapt it to the environment


Chronologically, the first theory was published in 1911 by Frederick Winslow Taylor. The American mechanical engineer concentrated on improving efficiency and productivity by applying science to work. Therefore, the first fundamental contribution is named Scientific Management. Besides, Taylor believed he could identify the perfect way to do every task properly and unify the algorithm (Organizational Communication Channel, 2017).

The second theory was released by French mining engineer Henry Fayol in 1916 and translated into English only in 1949. The critical question Fayol possessed was, “How should we manage people?” He was focused on improving managerial competence and making management a subject to study. Today his works are known as Administrative Theory (GreggU, 2019).

The third contribution was made by German sociologist Max Weber in 1921. He systematized the organization’s top-down structure and gave a definition of bureaucracy. Weber’s theory is based on two essential elements – structured hierarchy and clear rules. Today it is known as Bureaucracy and Organizational Structure (EduNote, 2018).

The Organization knowledge would not be whole and complete without the impact of American economist Herbert A. Simon. He pushed away from the rational approach of Taylor’s concept and studied Administrative Behavior to invigorate rigid task algorithms. He emphasized that “discovering and choosing a satisfactory” is essential for optimization ((Laegaard & Bindslev, 2006, Chapter 2.5). Simon’s book Administrative Behavior: a Study of Decision-Making Processes in Administrative Organization was published in 1947, USA.

From my perspective, the most influential concept is Fayol’s Administrative Management, as he described the vital connection between organization parts and classified the approaches, and contributed to management as knowledge to teach.

Meanwhile, all four theories intertwine and work as a single structure. The only question left is, “Why are the four fundamental contributions still relevant today?” The answer is yes. The theories are still applicable in delivery companies, warehouses, and foodservice (Organizational Communication Channel, 2017). For instance, the “Weberian bureaucracy” is suitable for a government organization and doesn’t work for startups. Foyal’s theory of spreads in the military (Talbot, 2003).

Moreover, many sources are reacting against the classical theories; thus, the knowledge influences also indirectly (Organizational Communication Channel, 2017). Like a massive wall from which new ideas push off and develop into something more significant. 

In conclusion, all components of the classical management theory are parts of a beautiful structure and make a  picture of the complex organization we know today.


EduNote (2018, June 9). Bureaucratic Management Theory of Max Weber. [Video]. Youtube.

GreggU (2019, May 1). Administrative Management. [Video]. Youtube.

Laegaard, J. & Bindslev, M. (2006). Organizational theory, 1st ed. Ventus Publishing &

Lovepreet Giddha (2016, March 23). Scientific Management Theory. [Video]. Youtube.

Organizational Communication Channel (2017, October 23). Classical Management Theory.  [Video]. Youtube.

Talbot, P. A. (2003). Management organizational history – a military lesson? Journal of European Industrial Training, 27(7), 330-340.

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