Overview of Shifts in Focus

Though the development of management over the last hundred years has not been a single continuous stream from one source, it has been a process of integrating ideas from a number of streams. Furthermore, during this development the focus of attention has shifted from one stream to another. (1) From 1900 to 1930, the major focus was on the physical factors as viewed from industrial engineering and economics. (2) Between 1930 and 1960, the focus shifted to the human factors affecting productivity, with supporting efforts from managerial accounting and classical concepts of personnel and finance. (3) During the 1960s, as a result of reports prepared for the Ford and Carnegie Foundation, emphasis was placed on achieving precision through the use of quantitative methods (mathematics and statistics) and the behavioral sciences (psychology, sociology, anthropology). Computers and systems thinking developed rapidly during this decade as techniques for management. (4) The trend in the 1970s focused on organizational behavior (built on the behavioral approach) as almost synonymous with management. In the last decade contingency theories, that is, theories of management which are dependent upon the environmental situations in which they are applied received major attention. The classical approach of a single universal theory of management has given way to a number of contingency theories. Legal aspects, cultural considerations, and the emerging field of public administration have received new emphasis. Points below outlines some of the many bases for managerial thoughts

Disciplinary Bases for Management:

1. Industrial Engineering: Measurement and analysis of physical factors in achieving efficiency.
2. Economic: Allocation of scarce resources with orientation to future.
3. Financial Accounting: Recording, reporting, analyzing and auditing of past transactions.
4. Public Administration: Formation of a rational hierarchy for the accomplishment of activities.
5. Legal Profession Development of a consistent course of action based on precedents to achieve stability, order, and Justice.
6. Statistical Methods: Employment of probability theory to infer facts from samples and to handle uncertainty.
7. Mathematics: Construction of models which state explicitly one’s assumptions, objectives, and constraints.
8. Psychology: Scientific investigation concerning human needs, perceptions, and emotional factors.
9. Sociology: Study of interrelationships within and among human groups in society.
10. Anthropology: Cultural variations and discoverable patterns of behavior from history and environment.

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