A Timeline of Management Science Septo Indarto’s Note

17 Des

A Timeline of Management Science

Septo Indarto’s Note


1880-Scientific Management. Frederick Taylor decides to time each and every worker at the Midvale Steel Company. His view of the future becomes highly accurate:

In the past man was first. In the future the system will be first (In scientific management the managers were elevated while the workers roles were negated.

Science, nor rule of thumb, said Taylor. (The decisions of supervisors, based upon experiences and institution, were no longer important. Employees were not allowed to have ideas of responsibility. Yet the question remains-is this promotion of managers to center-stage justified?


The Taylor Society publishes a revised and up date practitioner’s manual: Scientific Management in American Industry.

1932-The Hawthorne Studies

Elton Mayo becomes the first to question the behavioural assumptions of scientific management. The studies concluded that human factors were often more important than physical conditions in motivating employees to greater productivity.

1946-Organizational Development

Social scientist Kurt Lewin launches the Research Center for Group Dynamics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His contributions in change theory, action research, and action learning earn him the title of the father organization development. Lewin is the best known for his work in the field of organization behavior and the study of group dynamics. His research discovered that learning is the best facilitated when there is a conflict between immediate concrete experience and detached analysis within the individual.

1949- Sociotechnical Systems Theory

A group of researches from London’s Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, led by Eric Trist, studied a South Yorkshire coal mine in 1949. Their research leads in the development of the Sociotechnical Systems Theory with considers both social and the technical aspects when designing jobs. Ot marks a 180-degree departure from Frederick Taylor’s scientific management. There are four basic components to sociotechnical theory:

  1. Environment subsystem
  2. Social subsystem
  3. Technical subsystem
  4. Routine, high volume communications
  5. Coordination between activities
  6. Structure to reduce uncertainty

With Control and Management the ultimate goal is efficiency-addressing how well the process was accomplished (form); while with Command and Leadership the ultimate goal is effectiveness-achieving goals and mission (results). Generally, to achieve form, one must conceptualize “processes”; while to achieve results, one must conceptualize tasks.

Thus, command and leadership decide what the organization should be doing, while control and management ensure that the resources used to achieve the results are used efficiently (without waste).

Frameworks of Command & Control

Command and Leadership use the following framework:

  1. Creating (Creating a vision or task to achieve results).
  2. Planning (How will you achieve the result)
  3. Implementing (Putting the plan into action)
  4. Follow up (Ensuring that it gets done)

Control and Management uses the following framework:

  1. Observe-See what has happened.
  2. Compare-What actually happened to what was supposed to happen.
  3. Decide-Does the comparison show that the objectives were met and determine what needs changing?
  4. Follow up-Ensure the change actually happened


1954-Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory is published in his book Motivation and personality. This provides a frame work for gaining employees’ commitment.



Peter Drucker writes The Practice of Management and introduces the 5 basic roles of managers. He writes: The first question is discussing organization structure must be: What is our business and what should be? Organization must be designed so as to make possible the attainment of objectives of the business for five, ten, fifteen years hence.

1959-Hygiene and Motivational Factors

Frederick Hezberg developed a list of factors which are closely based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, expect it more closely related to work. Hygiene must be present in the job before motivators can be used to stimulate the workers.

1960s-Organization Development

In the 1950s and 1960s a new, integrated approach originated as Organization Development (OD), the systematic application of behavioral science knowledge at various levels (group, intergroup, and total organization) to bring about planned change.

1960-Theory X and Theory Y

Douglas McGregor’s Theory X and Theory X principles influence the design and implementation of personnel policies and practices.

Late 1960s- Action Learning

An unheralded British academic was invited to try out his theories in Belgium-It led to an upturn in the Belgian economy. Unless your ideas are ridiculed by experts they are worth nothing, says the British academy Reg Revens, creator of action learning:

L=P+Q (L) Learning occurs through a combination of programmed knowledge (P) and the ability to ask insightful questions (Q)

Note that his work has had little impact on this side of the ocean, although it remains one of the best ways to learn to improve an organization.

1964-Management Grid

Robert Blake and James Mouton develop a management model that conceptualizes management styles and relations. Their grid uses two axis. Concern for people is plotted using the vertical axis and concern for task is long the horizontal axis. The notion that just two dimensions can describe a managerial behavior has the attraction of simplicity.

1978- Performance Technology

Tom Gilbert publishes Human Competence: Engineering Worthy Performance. It describes the behavioral-engineering model which become the bible of performance technology. Gilbert wrote that accomplishment specification is the only logical way to define performance requirements. Accomplishments are the best starting points for developing performance standards. In addition, accomplishments are the best tools for the development of performance-based job description as they allow management to describe the measurement that is important to the organization, specific to the position and observable.



McKinsey’s John Larson asks colleague Tom Peter to step in at the last minute and make a presentation that leads to In Search of Excellence. Thus Tom Peters spawns the birth of the management guru business.

1990-Learning Organization

Peter Sange popularized the learning organization in the fifth discipline: the art and practice of the learning organization. He describes the organization as an organism with the capacity to enhance its capabilities and shape its own future. A learning organization with the capacity to enhance its capabilities and shape its own future. A learning organization is any organization (e.g. school, business, government agency) that understands itself as a complex, organic system that has a vision purpose. It uses feedback systems and alignment mechanisms to achieve its goals. It values teams and leadership throughout the ranks. He called for five disciplines:

  1. System Thinking
  2. Personal Mastery
  3. Mental Models
  4. Shared Vision
  5. Team Learning


On December 11, 1995 a fire burned most of Malden Mills to the ground and put 3,000 people out of work. Most of the 3,000 thought they were out of work permanently. CEO Aaron Fuerstein says: This is not end-He spent millions keeping all 3,000 employees on the payroll with full benefits for 3 months until he could get another factory up and running. Why? He answers, the fundamental difference is that I consider our workers an asset, not an expense.



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