Management is a crucial aspect of any organization. It involves planning, organizing, directing, and controlling resources to achieve specific goals.

The evolution of management theory has been a gradual process that has taken place over the years. In this article, we will explore the different stages of management theory and how they have evolved over time.

Early Management Theories

The early management theories were mainly focused on improving efficiency and productivity in organizations. One of the earliest contributors to management theory was Frederick Taylor.

He developed the scientific management approach, which emphasized the importance of breaking down tasks into smaller components to increase efficiency. This approach involved careful observation and analysis of work processes to identify ways to improve productivity.

Another contributor to early management theory was Henri Fayol, who developed the administrative management approach. This approach focused on identifying the fundamental principles of management that could be applied universally across different organizations. Fayol identified five functions of management: planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating, and controlling.

Behavioral Management Theories

The behavioral management theories emerged in the 1930s and 1940s as a response to the limitations of early management theories. Behavioral theorists believed that understanding human behavior was crucial for effective management. One notable contributor to this field was Elton Mayo, who conducted a series of studies at Western Electric’s Hawthorne plant in Chicago.

Mayo’s research showed that workers were not solely motivated by financial incentives but also by social factors such as recognition and appreciation from their colleagues and superiors. This discovery led to a shift in focus towards employee motivation and job satisfaction.

Contemporary Management Theories

Contemporary management theories have continued to evolve over time with new approaches emerging in response to changing needs and circumstances. One example is Total Quality Management (TQM), which emerged in Japan in the 1950s with companies such as Toyota adopting this approach to improve quality control.

TQM involves a focus on continuous improvement, customer satisfaction, and employee involvement in decision-making processes. Another contemporary approach is the Systems Theory, which emphasizes the interconnectedness of different parts of an organization. This approach recognizes that changes in one area can have a ripple effect on other areas of the organization.


In conclusion, management theory has evolved over time from the early scientific management approach to contemporary theories such as TQM and Systems Theory. Each stage of management theory has contributed to our understanding of how organizations can be managed effectively. As we continue to face new challenges in the business world, it is likely that new approaches will emerge to meet these challenges.