What is Administrative Management Approach?

Administrative management approach is one of the important approach of organization. It was initiated in the first half of the 20th century by a group of writers whose interest was mainly in formal organization and the basic management process. Henry Fayol, Luther Gullick,. L.F. Urwick, Mooney, A.C. Reiley, M.P. Follett and R. Shelton are the important proponents of this theory.

This approach is also known as structural theory of organization, as it deal with formal organization. The most important concern of the formal organization theory is the formulation of certain universal principles of organization. It deals primarily with formal organization structure. The theory assumes that there are certain fundamental principles on the basis of which an organization can be established to achieve a specific objective.

The watch words of this approach are efficiency and economy, as it conceives that these principles, if fully adopted, can lead to maximum organizational efficiency and economy. The administrative management approach treats an organization as a closed system.

Completely unconnected with and uninfluenced by its external environment. It is more concerned with what ought to be and this kept in away from the study of actual behavior in organization, It underestimated the human factor and views that organization as a machine and human beings are cogs of this machine.

Contributions of Administration Management Approach

Henry Fayol, Gullick, Urwick, Mooney and Reiley are the important contributors of the administrative management approach. Although there are many figures in the principle of administration, they are agree on many basic points. There are:

Firstly, they find out certain universal principles, which they think universally valid, as they are derived from experience of industrial organization.

Secondly, they believe that the principles they have develop are scientifically valid, as these principles are based on empirical observation. They considered that the application of such principles would ensure greater economy and efficiency in the organization.

Thirdly, they think about the structure of the administration or organization. They consider that without structure, organization cannot function. For them “Structure is a device through which the human beings working in an organization, are assigned the tasks and are related to each other. They believe that structure moulds the nature of human being according to the needs of organization.”

Henry Fayol: Fayol is considered the father of administrative management theory with focus on the development of broad administrative principles applicable to general and higher managerial levels. He was a French mining engineer turned a leading industrialist and successful manager. He wrote a monograph in French in 1916, entitled “General and Industrial Administration.”

Fayol developed a set of principles relating to the function of management and the structuring of organization. Fayol wrote that all activities of business enterprises could be divided into six groups, technical, commercial, financial, accounting, security and administrative or managerial.

His primary focus was on managerial activity because he left managerial skills had been the most neglected aspect of business operations. He divided managerial functions into five elements they are planning, organization, command, coordination, and control. He propounded fourteen principles of organization i.e.,

  • Division of work,
  • Authority,
  • Discipline,
  • Scalar chain,
  • Unity of command,
  • Unity of direction,
  • Generalization or decentralization,
  • Subordination of individual interest to general interest,
  • Remuneration,
  • Order,
  • Equity,
  • Stability of tenure,
  • Initiative,
  • Esprit de crops.

Fayol believe that administration is a process that must be carried out on all levels of organization and it developed a set of principles relating to the functions of management and structuring of organization.

He says, “All undertakings require planning, organization, command, coordination and control and in order to function properly, all must observe the some general principles.” Fayol’s principles have provided basis for the development of principles of administration by the later thinkers.

Gullick and Urwick.

Gullick and Urwick were heavily influenced by Fayol. They gave more importance to the structure of administration, neglecting the role of human beings in the organization. They believe that it is possible to develop a science of administration based on principles. Gullick contributed ten principles of organization:

  • Division of work or specialization,
  • Departmental organization,
  • Coordination through hierarchy,
  • Coordination through committees,
  • Delegation,
  • Deliberate coordination,
  • Decentralization,
  • Unity of command,
  • Line and staff,
  • Span of control.

Among these ten principles of administration, Gullick lays special emphasis on division of work. He feels that division of work is the basis of organization indeed, the key for organization.

Being influenced by Fayol’s five elements of administration such as planning, organization, command, coordination and control. Gullick introduced seven functions of an administrator in the word “POSDCORB”, each letter stands for a particular function. These are planning, organization, staffing, directing, coordinating, reporting and budgeting.

Urwick was another important thinker who contributed to this approach. He identified eight principles of organization. These are:

  1. The principle of objectives,
  2. The principle of coordination,
  3. The principle of correspondence,
  4. The principle of responsibility,
  5. The principle of definition,
  6. The principle of specialization,
  7. The scalar principle,
  8. The principle of span of control.

Mooney and, Reiley.

Mooney and, Reiley developed the theory of organization in their work “Onward Industry”. In their work, they argued that all organizational structures are based on a system of superior subordinate relationships arranged in a hierarchical order. This they call “Scalar Principle” which constitute the universal process of coordination, throughout the entire structure.

Mooney and Reiley contributed four principles of organization:

  • The co-ordinative principle,
  • The scalar principle,
  • The functional principle,
  • The staff line principle.

Mary Parker Follett.

Mary Parker Follett another important thinker of this theory. She contributed to the development of management though, which differed, from that of other writer of her period. She said, organization is a social system and conflicts are inevitable in the organization.

Conflict provides opportunities for good and bad results. She advised managers to use conflict in a constructive manner. She also suggested there ways of resolving or dealing organizational conflict. These are:

  • Domination,
  • Compromise,
  • Integration.
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