Though people have been managing their affairs for thousands of years, and the techniques of management became quite well developed as methods of managing affairs of state, armies and religious institutions. However, recognition of management as separate function came about only towards the close of nineteenth century. Around that time a few pioneers started to develop and propagate ideas about methods of managing effectively. Thereafter the discipline of management developed quickly passing through several schools of management thoughts. It should be noted that each new management thoughts have added to and enriched existing management thoughts, rather than replaced them.
The first school of management thought, which is called classical management school emerged during late nineteenth century, and had gained wide recognition in initial two or three decade of twentieth century. This classical management itself consists to three distinct streams. These are scientific management, administrative management and bureaucratic management. Among this the most popular school of thought is the scientific management of Frederick W. Taylor (1865-1915) and the team of Frank and Lilian Gilbreth. The scientific management primarily concentrated on improving work methods through systematic study and analysis of work. Scientific management had profound effect on management thinking and practices in early twentieth century. Major limitation of scientific management was that it failed to recognize the importance of group working and providing overall direction to management of total work in addition to improving efficiency and effectiveness of individual tasks within it. This task was accomplished by Administrative management.
The concept of administrative management are primarily attributed to Henri Fayol (1841-1925). The core ideas of Administrative management are summarised in Fayol's fourteen principles of management. These principle deal with issues such as division of work, authority and responsibility, organizational design, remuneration, job stability, equity, team spirit and initiative.
Bureaucratic management was developed by Max Weber (1864-1920). Weber envisaged a system where management decision are taken based on rational and well established rules rather than on personal choices and preferences. Though the name bureaucratic management has come to stand for rigidity and delays, the basic ideas of Weber are used widely in all major organization. The major drawback of the bureaucratic management is the assumption that all organization decision can be taken based on rules and regulations.
After classical management the major school of management thought to develop in 1933's is the behavior school, which emphasized the human aspect of management including issues like motivation, group dynamics, initiative and innovation.
During World War II many efforts were made to improve management of war efforts. This included use of quantitative techniques. These techniques became the the basis for development of Quantitative school of management immediately after World War II.
The next school of management thought developed in 1960's contingency school, which is more of an integration of previous thought rather than a new direction.
The management thought currently popular is called contemporary management, and is based on use of specific management techniques and approaches such as TQM and Kaizen.