Academic journal article Management : Journal of Contemporary Management Issues

Tendencies in Evolution of 21st Century Management *

Academic journal article Management : Journal of Contemporary Management Issues

Tendencies in Evolution of 21st Century Management *

Article excerpt


The history of management is as old as the history of human society. The emergence of human race is closely followed by the emergence of various social groups (hunting groups, clans, tribes ...) that aim to achieve the goals that can not be achieved by individuals. Thus management became an essential instrument for ensuring the coordination of individual efforts. Since the society is becoming increasingly based on the group efforts and as many organized groups are becoming larger, the importance and complexity of the management tasks is also increased. In this sense, the role of management in the contemporary economy is becoming irreplaceable. Peter Drucker once wrote that "management has transformed the social and economic structure of the developed countries. It has created a global economy and introduced new rules for countries wishing to participate in this economy as equals ... The emergence of management has converted the knowledge from being social décor and luxury into a real asset of any economy." (Drucker, 1992). As if building on this Drucker's thought, Hamel says that "it is the invention of industrial management at the dawn of 20th century that turned the enlightenment policy and scientific discovery into global prosperity" (Hamel, 2009).

In this context it is interesting to mention the statement made by J. J. Servan-Schreiber (1968), who, exploring the reasons for the superiority of American versus European economy, found that the key reason for this superiority lies in the effective management performance of the US economy. Today it has become strikingly evident that the success of any business largely depends on effective management which, under the conditions set by the complex, heterogeneous, dynamic and uncertain environment, will be able to skillfully steer the company.

However, in contrast to the practice of management that is as old as the human race, the theory and the conceptual frameworks of management are quite recent - dating back to the late 19th century. Management is considered to be a phenomenon of 20th century century since it was then that numerous theories, schools, approaches, and conceptual frameworks were developed (Hodgetts & Altman, 1981). In the 20th century, a whole "jungle of management theories" was created and many authors tried to create an adequate systematization. The most successful of these attempts was the Koontz's one, which he presented in his book The Management Theory Jungle Revisited (Koontz, 1980). Ever since, there have been numerous attempts at integrating different theoretical approaches. Part of the difficulty in these efforts stems from the fact that management is an applied science, which causes the lack of coherent theoretical concepts. Management theorists have adopted and applied the concepts from other disciplines. Thus, the theory of management evolved in symbiosis with its supporting disciplines such as mathematics, statistics and behavioral science, depriving itself of the motivation to find its own conceptual framework independent of the respective disciplines.

Although management as a discipline emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the postulates it was then founded on have continued to be applied for more than a century, the century in which the so-called second and in particular the third wave caused such turbulent changes that today humanity has entered a stage, in which reality is not real any longer (Naisbitt, 1988). No one could have ignored such changes, including management, designed according to the efficiency paradigm. For this old paradigm, Taylor claimed that it arises from "the fact that you know exactly what you want from your people and that you make sure that they do it in the best and most convenient way" (Taylor, 1903). He believed that management could be a "real science based on clearly defined laws, rules and principles" (Taylor, 1911).

Therefore, today the question arises of whether the so-called rational school of management (Peters, 2008) can adequately respond to the challenges of the modern world. …

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