Management Yesterday and Today


With the changing scenarios in terms of lifestyle and advancements in technology taking place, there has been a drastic change in the manner organizations work.

Tracing the exact history of Management seems difficult. Few view it as a management plan to the Sumerian traders, while others associate it with the builders of pyramids. Moreover, innovations such as the use of Arabic numerals and double-entry bookkeeping systems are nothing but the different management assessment, planning, and control tools. 

In the simplest of words, we can define Management as a set of principles comprising of different management functions viz. Planning, Organizing, Directing and Controlling.  

Basic Functions of Management

The various functions which combined together help in the smooth functioning of an organization are:

Planning: It simply means to decide on what steps and measures to be taken to efficiently carry out the activities in an organization.

Organizing: It is the optimum utilization of the resources to enable a successful implementation of plans.

Staffing: This comprises of recruitment, Job analysis and hiring the individuals for appropriate roles.

Leading/Directing: This function aims at understanding the situation and getting the people to do their jobs.

Controlling/Monitoring: It refers to the assessment of implemented plans, which may be modified on the basis of feedback.

Management’s Relation to other Fields of Study:

Management courses share a rich heritage with the different humanities and social science disciplines, naming a few of them would include:-

Anthropology: It means the study of societies, which helps us to comprehend the different human activities, behavior, and attitudes of people.

Sociology: It refers to the study of people in relation to their fellow human beings.

Psychology: It aims at examining or comprehending the way things are particularly in terms of nature, values.

Political Science: It aims at studying the behavior of individuals in a political environment.

Economics: It is all about the allocation of resources, choosing from the set of alternatives and maximizing profits.

Ancient/ Early Management

There are numerous examples that illustrate how management has been practiced for years.

Firstly, the Egyptian Pyramids are nothing but a true example of efficient management. Secondly, the Great Wall of China is yet another exemplary which exhibits how well things were managed that result in something worth appreciation.

Other examples of early management include assembly line, accounting systems, and numerous personnel functions.

In addition, Adam Smith the Father of Economics and author of The Wealth of Nations published in 1776, has brilliantly stated the economic advantages of the Division of Labour. Division of Labour refers to the breakdown of complex tasks into simpler, repetitive tasks.

Lastly, the introduction of the industrial revolution came in increased dependency on machinery combined with the division of labor. Moreover, following the different management functions became a mandate.

Pre-classical Contributors of Management Theory

The ideas given by the below-mentioned contributors date back to the late 1800s. Considering the ideas in a sequential manner we have:-

1771-1858, Robert Owen: He was a British Factory owner and showed concern with respect to the living and working conditions of the workers.

1792-1871, Charles Babbage (Father of modern Computing): He laid emphasis on the concept of profit sharing.

1844-1924, Henry Towne: He proposed the idea to develop management principles that could be applied across different management situations.

The Genesis of Early Management Idea

The ultimate goal of an organization is to work in the most efficient manner by judiciously utilizing its resources, getting others to work hard in achieving the organizational objectives. Moreover, keeping a tab of whether the tasks are being accomplished well in time or not.

Modern Management

Modern Management comprises different systematic and analytical methods that aid in the decision-making process and improvement of overall efficacy in an organization. It focuses on the development of different parameters and factors affecting the workers.

In the words of Mary Parker Follett or the Mother of Modern Management, “Management is the art of getting things done through people.”

System Theory

It is observed as one of the most dominant organizational theory. This theory considers the organization as either open or close. A closed organization is the one that is not affected by the changes in the business environment while an open organization is.

Contingency Theory

It is based on the fact that management effectiveness is dependent on the application of different management behaviors. In short, the way things are managed is subject to change depending on the circumstances.

This theory gives the managers an array of ways to react to problems and unexpected situations.

Quantitative Approach

This approach uses different quantitative techniques such as statistics, computer simulations that improve the overall decision-making process. In today’s time wherein we observe an exponential increase in the use of data, the quantitative approach encourages managers to make decisions with the help of mathematics and statistics.

Modern Theory

The modern theory considers the organization as an open system. This implies the continuous interaction of the organization with its environment for sustainable growth. There are different micro and macro factors that affect the growth of an organization. An organization comprises of several elements such as input, transformation, output, and feedback.

As per the modern theory, the organization is dynamic in nature and is probabilistic in nature. By probabilistic it means the results are uncertain and purely dependent on the chances of occurrence.

Total Quality Management/TQM

It is a continuous and structured process that helps in overall organizational management. The major emphasis of TQM is reducing errors, continual improvement of internal practices and the organization’s output.


The different management practices exhibit the times and social conditions adopted by different organizations with respect to change in technology and different developing web-based operations. Moreover, it seems that different cultures adopt different management styles.

Nowadays, it has been observed that all managers use such management techniques which consist of Planning, Organizing, Staffing, and Controlling. This is primarily because a manager plays different roles in an organization.

Thus, the new business models are nothing but a reflection of information that can be shared and exchanged timely and instantaneously anywhere on this planet.