Define classical management.

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sullymonster's profile pic

sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Classical management is the original "school" of management to develop during the Industrial Revolution.  As businesses were expanding, company owners and managers were looking at hiring in large numbers of employees, many of them unskilled in the trade and even a large number who could not speak English.  Some method had to be developed to train all these workers - hence, classical managment.

This system of management deals with the task itself.  Classical managers seek to outline exactly how work is done in step-by-step increments.  They then provide employees with the procedure and expect the procedure to mimicked exactly.  This is very much a "micro-managerial" style, with the head of the organization (company, branch, etc.) telling workers exactly what to do and how to do it.

Many argue that classical management de humanized the workplace.  Rather than treating workers as individuals, the theory treats them more like machines designed to complete a particular function.  Other theories that developed included behavioral management, which sought to leave the procedure to the worker.  Managers in this area ask for a particular product, but allow for individuality in the completion of the project.

Here is the broader definition of "classical management":

"Classical management emphasized the identification of universal principles of management which, if adhered to, would lead to organizational success. Universal principles encompassed two broad areas. The first was identifying business functions and the second was structuring organizations and managing workers.

In essence, classical theory holds that management is a process consisting of several related functions, such as planning and organizing. Thus, by identifying specific business functions—including marketing, finance, production, and subfunctions within those and other major categories—companies can efficiently divide an organization into departments that work as a process. Furthermore, by carefully structuring chains of authority and responsibility, an entity can successfully facilitate the performance of individuals within departments to achieve company goals."

pmiranda2857's profile pic

pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The term Classical Management dates back to the Industrial Revolution.  It was somewhat more rigid than management styles used today.

"Classical management theorists thought there was one way to solve management problems in the industrial organization. Generally, their theories assumed that people could make logical and rational decisions while trying to maximize personal gains from their work situations."

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