Saturday, January 25, 2014

SCHOOLS OF MANAGEMENT THOUGHTS P- 12. Management of Libraries and Information Centres & Knowledge Centres * By :PK gupta

इस ब्लॉग्स को सृजन करने में आप सभी से सादर सुझाव आमंत्रित हैं , कृपया अपने सुझाव और प्रविष्टियाँ प्रेषित करे , इसका संपूर्ण कार्य क्षेत्र विश्व ज्ञान समुदाय हैं , जो सभी प्रतियोगियों के कॅरिअर निर्माण महत्त्वपूर्ण योगदान देगा ,आप अपने सुझाव इस मेल पत्ते पर भेज सकते हैं -


P- 12. Management of Libraries and Information Centres & Knowledge Centres *

By :PK gupta

0. Introduction

Management practice is as old as human civilization when people started living together in groups. Every group requires management and the history of human beings is full of organisational activities. However, the study of how managers achieve results is predominantly a twentieth century phenomenon. Earlier, management concepts were applied in the field of business only and the researchers did not pay much heed to it. The  situation started changing with  the beginning of twentieth century, especially  the World  War I created the situation when people  started thinking  of the  solution to the problem  of how  limited  resources could be applied  in better way.  The World War II added further problem to this end. Growing competition and complexity of managing large business organisations further provided impetus to developing systematic management concepts and principles. This led to emergence of variety of approaches in management.
The evolution of the schools of management thoughts can be grouped in the following categories, although some overlapping can be there. Similarly, a particular school of thought   did not really start with the end of the previous one, so far the time period is concerned. As L. M. Prasad has rightly stated this classification is time specific because what is modern in today’s context, may not remain the same in future:
Classification/ Grouping
Management Thoughts
I. Classical Theory
  1. Early  contributions
Up to 19th Century
  1. Scientific Management School 
  1. Operational Management School 
  1.  Bureaucratic School 
II.  Neo-Classical Theory  
  1. Human Relations School  

  1.  Social  Systems School

  1.  Decision Theory  School 

  1. Management Science School  

  1.  Human  Beahviour School   
III. Modern  Theory
  1.  Systems  School
1960 onwards

10.Contingency School
1970 onwards

11.Learning  Organisation School 
1990 onwards

1.0 Early Contributions

The concept of organisation and administration existed in Egypt in 1300 B.C. According to L.M. Prasad, Confucius’s parables included suggestions for proper public administration and admonitions to choose honest, unselfish and capable public officers long before Christ. Kautilya gave sound  principles  of state administration as  early as  in 320 B.C. Roman  Catholic Church introduced the concept of  staff  personnel  in Church administration,  which  was  further  carried on by military organisations. The camera lists (a group of German and Austrian public administration as a source of strength during 16th to 18th centuries. These contributions provided some insights about how resources could be utilized more effectively. However, these contributions were outside the field of business and other economic organisations.
 In the 16th century, Machiavelli wrote ‘The Prince’ in an attempt to gain favour with the ruler of an Italian city state and described the way that a good prince or leader should act. He propounded two basic approaches, namely, ‘Love approach’ and ‘Fear approach’ as a basis for leadership and administration. He suggested four basic principles are concerning: “mass consent, cohesiveness, will to survive, and leadership. Later in the Age of Enlightenment and Renaissance, change of societal value, human worth and individual knowledge, ability, skill and accomplishment were acknowledged, but these alone were not enough to be a good manager. Industrialism and the factory system of the early 19th century saw the use of management skills, assembly line operation and costing systems.
In fact the management theories in the early period were not really theories, but some discrete practices or experiences. For that matter management theories in the present century are also not totally free from certain problems. To become a theory, an experience or practice need to undergo several modifications, syntheses and tests. For this purpose a   sound theoretical and conceptual framework is essential for a theory to take shape. Lack of adequate concept formation is considered a serious drawback in the development of a unified and integrated management theory. Management scholars have borrowed and applied concepts form other disciplines. That is why management theory has evolved a symbiotic relationship to its related and supporting disciplines like mathematics, statistics, behavioural sciences, economics, etc. The classical management theory consist of  a group of similar  ideas on the  management of organisations that  involved in the  late 19th  century and early  20th  century (1880’s – 1920’s ). The Classical School is also known as ‘Traditional School of Management’ among practitioners. The primary contributions of the Classical School of Management include:  (i) application of science to the practice of management; (ii) development of the basic management functions; and (iii) articulation and application of specific principles of management

1.1 Scientific Management School

Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856-1915) is considered to be the father of ‘Scientific Management’. Subsequently, he was supported by Henry Gantt, George Berth, Edward Felen, Lillian Gilberth and Harrington Emerson. Four basic parts of a series of ideas developed by Taylor are as under:
(i)     Each  person’s  job should  be  broken down into elements and  a scientific way  to perform each element should be determined;
(ii)       Workers  should be  scientifically selected  and trained to do the work in the  designed and trained manner;
(iii)     There should be good cooperation  between management and workers so that  tasks  are performed in the designed manner;
(iv)    There should be a division of labour between managers and workers. Managers should take over the work of supervising and setting up instructions and designing the work and the workers   should be free to perform the work themselves.
Thus the Scientific Management provides a logical framework for the analysis of problems. Taylor’s contributions can be described in two parts: elements & tools of Scientific Management; and principles of Scientific Management.
(a)               Elements  and Tools  of Scientific Management:
Taylor conducted various experiments to find out how human being could be made more efficient by standardizing the work and better methods of doing the work. These experiments have provided the following features of Scientific Management:
(i)                 Separation of Planning and Doing: This means the planning should be done by the supervisor and the worker should emphasize only operational work.
(ii)               Functional Foremanship: Taylor evolved this concept based on specialization of functions. In this system  four  persons  are  involved  in planning  (route clerk, Instruction card clerk,  Time & Cost  clerk, and disciplinarian); and  another  four persons  are concerned with doing the work (speed boss,  inspector, maintenance foreman, and gang boss). All of them give instructions to workers on different aspects of work.
(iii)              Job Analysis: This helps in fixing the fair work so that there is least movements, consequently less time and less cost. Taylor also suggested making fatigue study and calculating time for the rest period of the workers to complete the job.
(iv)             Standardization: This  is required to  be maintained in  respect of  instruments & tools, period of work, amount of work,  working  conditions, cost  of production, etc  which should  be fixed in advance.
(v)               Scientific selection and Training of Workers: Selection should  be made keeping in view  the qualification, experience,  aptitude , physical strength, etc of the  workers. Most suitable persons should be selected fairly and then necessary training should be given to them before putting then on work.
(vi)             Financial Incentives:  For motivation good workers should be rewarded, given higher pay and promotion. This would lead to efficiency and more work.
(vii)            Economy: Taylor suggested that due consideration should be given to economy and profit, which can be achieved by eliminating wastage of resources and making the resources more productive.
(viii)         Mental Revolution: There should be mental change in management as well as workers from conflict to cooperation. Taylor says that this is the most important feature of Scientific Management because, in its absence, no principle of Scientific Management can be applied.
(b) Principles of Scientific Management:
The fundamental principles propounded by Taylor   are as under:
(i)              Replacing Rule of Thumb with Science: While the use of scientific method denotes precision in determining any aspect of work, rule of thumb emphasizes estimation. Hence it is essential that all details should be measured precisely and should not be based on mere estimation. This approach can be adopted in all aspects of management.
(ii)               Harmony in Group Action: Group harmony suggests that there should be mutual give and take situation and proper understanding so that group as a whole contributes to the maximum.
(iii)               Cooperation:  Scientific management involves achieving cooperation rather than chaotic individualism. It is based on mutual confidence, cooperation and goodwill between management and workers.
(iv)             Maximum Output: Continuous increase in production and productivity instead of restricted production either by management or by workers would lead to more profit.
(v) Development of Workers:  In Scientific Management all workers should be       developed to the fullest extent possible for their own and for the organization’s highest prosperity. It requires scientific selection of workers, their proper training and regular updating according to the requirement of new methods of working.
Thus the Scientific Management created awareness about increasing operational efficiency. However, from the point of view of the development of theoretical framework, the principles of Scientific Management were more concerned with problems at the operating levels an did not emphasize management of an organization from the manager’s point of view. That is why, some critics are of the opinion that Scientific Management is more relevant form the engineering point of view rather than the management point of view. In its early development, Scientific Management had little concern for the external environment of the organisation and was almost exclusively concerned with internal operations. It also placed little emphasis on the needs of the workers, instead of focusing on producing better results.

1.2 Operational Management School

Henry Fayol (1841-1925), a French industrialist is the chief architect and father of the ‘Operational Management Theory’. It is also known as ‘Administrative Management School of Thought’. He concentrated on the role that managers should perform as planners, organizers and controllers. He was of the opinion that managers needed basic principles upon which to operate. Henry Fayol was the first to write about the functions of management such as planning, organizing, command, coordination and control. He propounded fourteen ‘Principles of Management’, which are listed below (Source: Fayol, Henry. General and industrial management. Trans. Constance Storrs. New York : Pitman , 1949, pp. 22):
(i)                 “Division of Work: There should be a clear division of duties. Breaking jobs into smaller pieces will results in specializing. Management should be separate and distinct.
(ii)               Authority:  The authority that individuals possess should be equal to their responsibility. Anyone responsible for the results of a task should be given the authority to take the actions necessary to ensure its success.
(iii)             Discipline: There should be clear rules and complete obedience to behaviour in the best interest of the organization.
(iv) Unity of Command: An employee should receive orders from only one supervisor, in             order to avoid confusion and conflict.
(v)             Unity of Direction: There should be one head and one plan, in order to ensure a coordinated effort.
(vi)             Subordination of Individual Interest to the General Interest: Employee should place   the organization’s concerns before their own interests.
(vii)           Remuneration of Personnel: Pay should be fair.
(viii)Centralization: Centralization is the most desirable arrangement within an organization.
(ix)          Scalar Chain:  Each position is part of a vertical chain of authority (the scalar chain). Communication should move up and down this chain of command.
(x)            Order: To avoid conflicts, there should be a right place for everything and   everyone in the organization.
(xi)          Equality: Equality of treatment must be taken into account in dealing with employees. Justice should be tempered with kindness.
(xii)        Stability of Tenure of Personnel:  Long term stability for workers is good for an organization.
(xiii)                     Initiative: Initiative rewards must be provided to stimulate production.
(xiv)         Esprit de Corps: Develop a strong sense of morale and unity. Communication is the key to a satisfied working group.”
Henry Fayol was of the opinion that the workers are generally lazy in nature, especially when they work in groups. Discipline is very essential for getting the work done. They can be motivated by the incentive of higher wages for more work or better work.
Thus the above mentioned schools of classical perspective emphasized efficiency and clear rules for effective management. They gave more importance to the interests of the organisation rather than those of the workers. These schools of thought are generally criticized for giving undue emphasis on the formal aspects of organisations and neglecting the effects of individual personalities, conflicts within the organisations and decision making process on the formal structure. According to Stueart and Moran, these classical schools of management thoughts have been criticized as leading to rigidity and resistance to change. Yes, the theories of these schools provided a way to efficiently organise and manage the large organisations. Even today, many organizations including libraries and information centres depend heavily on there classical school of management thoughts.

1.3 Bureaucratic School

Max Weber, a German Sociologist, introduced many of the theories of the Bureaucratic School. He was the first to articulate a theory of the structure of authority in organisations and to distinguish between power and authority, and between compelling action and voluntary response. According to Stueart and Moran, he was more concerned with the structure of the organisation than with the individual. Most of his writings and research relate to the importance of specialization in labour, of regulations and procedures, and of the advantages of a hierarchical system in making informed decisions. Weber Characterized a bureaucratic organization as an ideal type of organisation in which:
(i)                 Labour is divided with a clear  indication of  authority and  responsibility ;
(ii)               The principle of hierarchy exits;
(iii)             Personnel are selected and  promoted  based on qualifications ;
(iv)             Rules are  written down and impersonally and uniformly applied ;
(v)               Promotion into management is only through demonstrated technical competence; 
(vi)             Rules and procedures ensure reliable and predictable beahviour.
Weber advocated that all the above characteristics of Bureaucratic school are extremely powerful and the bureaucracies work well under many conditions, especially in stable organisations and in stable environments. Many large organizations, including many libraries, have been structured to reflect Max Weber’s Bureaucratic School of Management thought.
                        In the views of L. M.  Prasad, many authors have questioned the validity of bureaucracy. In most of the cases, either the conditions are not found in practice, or even if found, may not result in to efficiency. Especially the following aspects of bureaucracy work against efficiency of the organisation, though they are supposed to contribute to efficiency:

(i)                 Rules are often provided for guidelines but often they become source of inefficiency because of too much emphasis on rules;
(ii)               Rigid organizational hierarchy works against efficiency. It emphasizes necessary superior-subordinate relationship which are detrimental to congenial organizational climate;
(iii)             In dealing with people, total impersonal approach cannot be adopted because people have emotions, feelings and sentiments which affect decision making. Thus people cannot work totally according to rules.
Bureaucratic structure can work well when environment is highly static and predictable. However the nature of environment for large organisations of today is highly dynamic and heterogeneous, in which more interaction between organisation and environment is required. There is high need for information monitoring and processing. Thus an open system perspective is more suitable for the management of modern day organisations, while bureaucratic structure has closed-system perspective.

2. Neo- Classical Theory

The schools of management thoughts developed during  the period  1930’s  to 1960’s are known  as ‘Neo-Classical School of Thought’, which  are discussed as follows:

2.1 Human Relations School

Prominent advocate of this approach was Elton Mayo. Two other co- researchers of this school were F.J. Roethlisberger and William J. Dickson. Subsequently Mary Parker Follett also contributed to this school of thought. Mayo, Roethlisberger and Dickson conducted studies at Hawthorne Illinois plant of Chicago Western Electric Company, which became famous as ‘Hawthorne Experience’ or ‘Hawthorne Studies’ later. Developed during the middle of the 20th Century, this approach emphasizes the complexity of mankind and devotes much more attention to the satisfaction of human needs within the organisations. Since the management involves getting things done with and through people, the study of management must revolve round human behaviour. That is why, it is also known as ‘Behavioural Science School’ or ‘Organizational School’ or ‘Leadership School’. This approach brings to the study of human behaviour ranging from personality dynamics of individuals at one extreme to the relations of culture at the other extreme. Therefore, this approach can be divided into two groups: ‘Interpersonal Behaviour Approach’, and ‘Group Behaviour Approach’. While the interpersonal behaviour approach is based upon individual psychology, the group behaviour approach rely on social psychology and emphasize on organizational behaviour.   The main assumptions of the ‘Human Relations School’ are as under:
(i)       As management is a  process of getting  things done  by people, managers should understand  human  behaviour;
(ii)      Motivation and good human  relations should be the  base for  better  productivity ; and
(iii)     Motivation, leadership, communication, participative management and group dynamics are the major themes of this approach.
But human behaviour is not the total field of concern of the manager. Wherever secrecy of decision is required and when decisions have to be made quickly on emergent basis, this approach may not work. The Human Relations School is considered to be a swing in the opposite direction of classical theory. Here, only ‘Human variables’ have been considered as critical and all other variables have been ignored altogether. Every organisation is made up of a number of diverse social groups with incompatible values and interests. These groups might cooperate in some sphere, while these may compete and clash in others. In fact, it is very difficult to satisfy every body and turn the organisation in to a big happy family. Moreover, the techniques of Human Relations School try to play a trick on the workers to create a false sense of happiness and not really concerned with their real well being. Like Scientific Management efforts, research in Human Relations focused on the lower levels of organisation, rather than on the middle and upper groups, and hence, lacked the comprehensive scope.

2.2 Social Systems School

Chester I. Barnard is considered the father of the ‘Social-Systems School’, which is sociologically oriented. In looking for and seeking fundamental explanations about how managerial processes take place, Barnard developed a theory of cooperation based on the need of the individual to offset personal, biological, physiological and sociological limitations. It defines cooperation as a system in which people are able to communicate with one another and willing to coordinate their efforts to a unified end result. According to G. Edward Evans, this style also recognizes that some interactions are conditioned by the informal organisations. Leadership and other characteristics of individuals exhibited in informal situations may not coincide with their leadership role in the formal organisation. Social–systems adherents also recognize that what happens on the job is strongly influenced by social activities taking place within the social system, i.e. outside the organisational system, and by other organizations.
            According to Evans, the ‘Social-Systems School’ has made a great many contributions to management theory. The recognition of the organisation as a social organism, subject to exactly the same problems and pressures the individual is subject to, has proved to be very helpful to the practicing manager. With its emphasis on social interaction and cooperation, this school utilizes a great deal of background material about the non-rational side of  human and organisational behaviour.
The major contributions of Chester Barnard can be presented as under:
(i)                 Concept of Organisations: In the opinion of Barnard, an organisation exists when there are persons able to communicate with each other; they are willing to contribute to the action; and they attempt to accomplish a common purpose.
(ii)               Formal and Informal Organisations:  The formal organisation has consciously coordinated interactions, which have a deliberate and common purpose. On the other hand, the informal organisation refers to those social interactions which do not have consciously coordinated joint purpose. The informal organisations exists to  overcome the  problems of formal organisation.
(iii)             Elements of  Organisation:  According to Barnard, there are  four elements of formal organisation, which are: (a)  a system of  functionalization so that  people can specialize; (b) a system of effective and efficient incentives so as to induce people to contribute to  group  action;(c) a system  of power  which will lead group  members to  accept the decisions  of the executives; and (d) a system  of logical  decision  making.
(iv)             Authority:  Barnard does not agree with the classical theory that the authority transcends from the top to down. Rather, he gave a new concept of authority called “Bottom–up-authority”. He says  that a person does not  obey  an order  because  it has been given  by a superior but he will accept a communication as being authoritative only when he  feels that  (a) he can understand the  communication; (b) he believes that it is not inconsistent with the organisational purpose; (c) he believes it to be compatible with his  personal  interests as a whole; and (d) he is  mentally and physically able to comply with it.
(v)               Functions of the Executive: Three types of functions of an executive have been  identified by  Barnard, which  are (a)  maintenance of  organisational communication through formal interactions; (b)  securing  of essential  services form individuals in the organisation to achieve the organizational purpose; and  (c)  formulation and definition of organisational purpose.
(vi)              Motivation: Some of the prominent  non–financial  techniques for motivating  people  to  work, as  suggested  by Barnard are :  opportunity of power and distinction; pride of workmanship ; pleasant organisation ;  participation ;  mutual supporting personal attitudes ; and feeling of belongingness.
(vii)           Executive Effectiveness: Leadership is the most strategic factor in securing cooperation from the people. It demands high caliber, technological competence, and technical as well as social skills. The executive leadership should not have pre-conceived notions and false ideologies. It should be personal pre–dilections and prejudices. 
(viii)         Organizational Equilibrium: It refers to the matching of individual efforts and organisational efforts to satisfy individuals. The cooperation of individuals with the organisation brings forth new activities. The organisational equilibrium can be perceived not only through logical appraisal but through analysis and intuition. Thus, many non–logical factors also enter into organisational analysis. Therefore, the  reasons  for an action should not  only be  logical  but must  appeal to  those  attitudes, pre-dilections, prejudices, emotions and  mental background  that cover action.
The above contribution of Barnard shows how he was concerned for the development of the organisation through social systems. According to L.M. Prasad, his contributions are regarded quite high in management.

2.3 Decision Theory School

Major contribution of this school of thought has come from Simon. Other contributors are: Cyert, March, Forrester, etc The emphasis of this school is that decision making is the job of every manager. In other words, manager is a decision- maker while organisation is a decision making unit. Rational decisions are required to be made for achieving the goal. According to L.M.  Prasad and G. Edward Evans, ‘Decision- Theory School’ has the following features:
(i)      Management is  essentially decision making;
(ii)    The members of the  organisation are decision-makers  and problem solvers;
(iii)  Organisations can be treated as a combination of various decision centres. The  level and  importance of organisational members are determined on the  basis of  importance of  decision which  they have to make ;
(iv) Quality of decisions  affect the organisational effectiveness ; and
(v)   All factors effecting decision -making are the subject matter of study of management. Besides processes and techniques involved in decision -making, other factors affecting the decisions are:  information system; social and psychological aspects of decision makers. Thus it covers   the entire range of human activities.
The Decision-Theory School has provided management and the Library managers in particular, with a very useful means for  developing techniques to be used  to identify and  then attack the problems  systematically. This school of thought is applicable in all types of organisations even today.

2.4 Management Science School

It is also known as ‘Mathematical school’ or ‘Quantitative Measurement school’.  It is a system that can be understood by many people who have no particular grasp of the concepts of management itself, but who can understand the mathematical symbols. It is easy to communicate in this way. It is logical and consistent.
 It is particularly  useful  in solving  complex  problems, and  in  bringing about  a more logical arrangement for information  sources  and data, in order  to make the quantification process easier to carry out . The  primary focus of this approach  is the  mathematical model, through  which the  managerial and other  problems can be  expressed in basic  relationships  and, where  a given  goal is sought, the  model can be expressed in terms which optimize that goal. According to L.M. Prasad, this school of thought draws many things from the “Decision Theory School”, and in fact provides many techniques for rational decision making. The major features of this school of thought are as under:
(i)            Management is regarded as the problem solving mechanism with the help of mathematics
 tools and techniques.
(ii)          Management problems can be described in terms of mathematical symbols and data. Thus  
          every managerial activity can be quantified.
(iii)          This approach covers decision making, systems analysis and some aspects of human behaviour.
(iv)          Operations research, mathematical tools, simulation, models, etc. are the basic methodologies to solve managerial problems.
This school of thought is a fast developing one in analyzing and understanding management. It has contributed significantly in developing orderly thinking in management, which has provided exactness in management discipline in solving managerial problems. But it does not provide the answers for the total managerial problems. Moreover, many  managerial activities  are not really capable of being  quantified because of the  involvement  of human being, who  governed  by many irrational  factors  also. The  researchers in this  school  have  advanced  managers’ awareness of how  models  and quantitative techniques  can be  used in the planning , controlling  and decision  making  processes.

2.5 Human Behaviour School

This school of management thought is also known as ‘Behavioural Science School’, or ‘Human Resource School’, ‘Leadership School’ of thought. In  contrast to the ‘Human  Relations School’, which  assumes that  happy  workers are  productive workers, the  ‘Human  Behaviour School’ has been goal  and efficiency oriented and  considers the understanding of human behaviour to be the  major means to that end. This school emphasizes human resources  in an organisation more as  compared to  physical and  financial  resources.
             Since  this school studies human behaviour  ranging  from personality dynamics of individuals  at one extreme  to the  relations of  culture at the other;  this can  be divided into two groups: (i)  Interpersonal Behaviour  School; and (ii) Group  Behaviour  School. The writers on the first group are heavily oriented towards  individual  psychology; while the writers  on the second  group  rely  on social  psychology and they  emphasise  on organisational behaviour.
Sociologists like Holmans, Bakke, Lewin, Katz and Kahn have studied human behaviour in group and have emphasized on group behaviour. As summed up by L.M.  Prasad, the major conclusions of the contributions made by  behaviouralists are as  under:
(i)                  People do not dislike work. If they have helped to establish objectives, they will want to achieve them.  In fact, job itself is a source of motivation and satisfaction to employees.
(ii)                Most people can exercise a great deal of self-direction, self-control and creativity than are required in their current job.  Therefore, there remains untapped potential among them.
(iii)              The manager’s basic job is to use the untapped human potential in the service of the organisation.
(iv)             The manager should create a healthy environment wherein all subordinates can contribute to the best of their capacity. The environment should provide a healthy, safe, comfortable and convenient place to work.
(v)                The manager should provide for self-direction by subordinates and they must be encouraged to participate fully in all important matters.
(vi)             Operating efficiency can be improved by expanding the subordinate influence, self-direction and self-control.
(vii)            Work satisfaction may improve as a ‘by product’ of subordinates making full  use of  their  potential.
Almost all the above listed characteristics put forth by the advocates of ‘Human Behviour School’ are applicable in the management of Libraries and information centres.

3. Modern Theory

The following  schools of  management  thought  propounded  during  1960s  onwards  can be  classified  as ‘Modern  Approach’ or ‘Modern  Theory’

3.1 Systems Approach or System School

One of the most widely accepted theoretical basis for modern management is called ‘Systems Approach’ or ‘Systems School’.  System is defined as ‘a set of   elements standing in interrelation among themselves and with the environment. The really important aspects are the interaction among the elements to create a whole, dynamic system. This system, if it is an open one, interacts with its environment’. The system is influenced by the environment and in turn influences the environment. If the system is dissected, It becomes evident that it comprises a number of sub-systems. Similarly, an organization is also one sub-system of a larger environment.
According to Stueart and Moran, the older schools of management envisioned organisations as closed system, ones in which the outside environment did not interact with the system. The systems approach  to management differs  from these  older classical  perspectives because  it acknowledges  the impact  of the outside  environment  on everything  that happens  within an  organisation. System theory envisions organisations as porous entities that are greatly affected by the outside environment. As computer related technology was introduced into organisations, a new style of approach, which became known as the ‘System Approach’, began to emerge. This approach likens an organization to a system similar to that used in computers. The primary approach is to model the ideal organizational design.” According to Toney Dawson, this theory claims that  an organisation consists of a number of  sub-systems. The examples of such  sub-systems are :
(a)         Production/Technical: This sub-system provides the primary function or purpose of the organisation. The examples would be the production lines of industrial enterprises or, in the public service context, social service homes or hospitals.
(b)        Supportive:  This sub-system supports the production sub-system. For  instance, it procures inputs and resources (e.g. persound functions) or  disposes of products ( e.g. sales and  dispatch functions)
(c)          Adaptive: This sub-system ensures that the organization adapts to changing circumstances. An example would be the research function.
Every system has flows of information, material and energy. These inputs get converted into outputs of goods, services and satisfaction in the organisation. This change process is synergistic. Synergy means that the output of a system is always more the combined output of its parts. In other words, these inter-related parts become more productive when they act in cooperation and interaction rather than in isolation. A system adapts and adjusts to the changing conditions of its environment and exercises control over its operations through feedback. Information flows to appropriate people as feed back to carry out this function. Systems approach possesses the conceptual level of managerial analysis much higher than other approaches.
Systems school suffers from two limitations i.e. (i) It is too abstract to be of much use to practicing managers. It merely indicates that various parts of the organisation are inter-related. But it fails to spell out precisely relationships among these; (ii) Thus, it lacks universality and its precepts cannot be applied to all organisations. For example, systems approach provides modern structural forms, sybernetic system for control and communication. These systems are suitable for large and complex organisations but are not suitable for small organisations. Looking into these shortcomings, researchers have tried to modify the systems approach. This attempt has led to the emergence of a separate approach, called Contingency or Situational approach.

3.2 Contingency Approach or Contingency School

It is also known as ‘Situational Approach’. The  basic  idea of  Contingency Approach  is that  there  cannot  be  a particular  management  action which will  be suitable for all situations.  Rather, an appropriate action is one which is designed on the basis of external environment and internal states and needs. Contingency theorists suggest that systems approach does not adequately spell out the precise relationship between organisation and its environment. The Contingency School tries to fill this gap by suggesting what should be done in response to an event in the environment.
Beginning in the 1970’s, the Contingency School became one of the most influential ways of thinking about management. This concept takes the situational approach. It considers the  circumstances of each  situation  and then  decides  which response has the greatest chance of success. According to Chimezie A.B. Osigweh. The Contingency Approach or Situation Approach asserts that:
(i)                  There is  no best  managerial  technique ;
(ii)                There is  no best way  to manage;
(iii)              No technique  or managerial principle is  effective  all  of the  time ; and
(iv)  Should the  question be posed as to  what  works  best, the  simple  response  is-‘It all depends  on the  situation’.

Tony Dawson illustrates that the organisations faced with a stable environment might find centralized decision making structures to be more suited to its need; alternatively an organisation with a varied environment might find decentralized structure more applicable. Similarly, small organisations might be better organized through strong central control; the larger organisation might find decentralized structures more suitable. Again, the  organisations  with well  educated and  trained workforce  might  find that  centralized structures  are resisted by its employees ; where  as  less well educated and trained  workers might  be more satisfied with centralized management structure. As such, environment, size and personnel of organisation are the  factors which  decide  as to which  structure is most  suitable  for a particular organisation.

Thus, it is evident that ‘Contingency School’ is an improvement over the ‘System School’. The shortcomings of the System School have been removed or modified in the Contingency School. But it has  not  been acknowledged as a unified theory of  management  because  it suffers from some  limitations, which  are of the  following  nature:
(i)      Research is still being conducted to spell out various types of actions which can be taken under different situations. Adequate literature is not available on this issue for the time being.
(ii)    It seems simple to say that the managers should do according to the need of the situation. But practically it is not always possible for the managers to do thorough analysis to find the best way as they are always short of time. They resort to short cut and easier way. Thus the situation can, sometimes, lead to complex problems. 
(iii)  For empirical testing of a theory, it is necessary that some methodology is available. But due to changed situations and involvement of too many factors, the empirical testing became rather more difficult.
(iv)  Contingency approach is basically reactive in nature and it is not proactive. This sometimes leads to problems for the manager to provide directions and guidance.

Despite some limitations of the Contingency School, it is working very well. The managers should take action as per situation and using their skills. They have to take into account the goals of the organisations, the technology used, the people of work there, the outside environment, and a number of other factors before taking the final decision how to manage.

3.3 Learning Organisation School

This approach was first put forth by Peter Senge during 1990s. As the name implies, a ‘Learning Organisation’ is one in which all employees are constantly learning. They keep on focusing on identifying and solving the problems within the organisation, at all levels.
 According to Stueart and Moran, the learning organisations maintain open communications and decentralized decision making.  The organisation can overcome limitations, understand the pressures against it and seize opportunities. The basic principles of the Learning Organisation School are as follows:
(i)      Personal mastery with people identifying what  is important in the  process;
(ii)    Mental  models,  with the  organisation  continuously challenging members in order to  improve their  mental models;
(iii)  Shared  vision, requiring an imagining of what  the organisation should be;
(iv)  Team learning, through  cooperation, communication, and  compatibility; and
(v)    Systems thinking, recognizing the organisation as a whole.
Since   the managers have to act as leaders, they assume the roles of innovator, director, coordinator, monitor, facilitator and teacher. The Learning Organisation School seems to be a good fit as more organisations are making shift from the ‘Command-and-control organisation’ to ‘Information-based organisation’. The theory of Learning Organisation is being applied to more and more organisations these days. It is being applied in various types of libraries and information centres also, now-a-days, in different parts of the world.
Evans has made an attempt to see the development of library management as a  parallel to development  of schools of management  theories. He  found that  same pattern  in library management theory  as that in  business with  starting  point  at a much later  time in  library  management.  Almost all schools of management thought have been and are being applied in different types of libraries and information centres all over the world. Principles of Scientific Management are invariably being applied in the libraries. Bureaucratic school is being followed in certain libraries even today. In recent times, Quantitative technique, Systems theory and Behavioural Science approach are being followed to library and information centre management. Evan suggests the need of unified theory of Library management.


1.Albers, H. Principles of management: A modern approach. New York: Wiley, 1969.
2.Bryson, Jo. Effective library and information centre management. Aldershot, Hants: Grower, 1990.
3.Evans, G Edward. Management techniques for librarians.  New York: Academic Press, 1976. pp. 17-31 & 34-50
4.Fayol, Henry. General and industrial management.  Trans. Constance Storrs. New York: Pitman, 1949. pp. 22
5.George, Claude S., Jr. The history of management  thought. 2nd ed. Englewood cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1972. pp. 12.
6.Hodgetts, Richard M. Management: Theory, process and practice. Philadelphia : Saunders, 1975. pp. 113.
7.McFardland, Dalton L. Management : Principles and  practices. 4th ed. New York : McMillan  Publishing, 1974.
8.Prasad, L.M. Principles and practice of management. 6th ed. New Delhi: Sultan Chand & Sons, 2006. pp. 39-76
9.Senge, Peter M. The fifth discipline: the art and practice of the Learning  organisation. New York : Doubleday, 1990
10.Stueart, Robert D. and  Moran  Barbara B.  Library and Information centre management. 7th ed. Westport: Libraries Unlimited,  2007. pp. 19-40.
11.Terry, G. R.  Principles  of management. 6th ed.  Homewood, Illinois: Irwin, 1972.
12.Tripathi, P. C. and Reddy, P. N.  Principles of management. 2nd ed. New Delhi: Tata  McGraw-Hill, 1991.
13.Weber, Max. The theory of social and economic organisations. Edited & translated by A. M. Henderson and T.  Parsons. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1947.
14.Worrell, Diane. “The learning organisation: Management theory for the information age or new age fad?” Journal of Academic Librarianship. Vol 21, Sept. 1995. pp. 356.

Multiple Choice Question

1 / 1 Points

Question 1: Multiple Choice

Chester I Barnard is considered as the father of the following school of management thought:
  • Wrong Answer Un-checked Operational Management School
  • Wrong Answer Un-checked Contingency School
  • Correct Answer Checked Social-Systems School
  • Wrong Answer Un-checked Decision Theory School
1 / 1 Points

Question 2: Multiple Choice

Fourteen ‘General Principles of Management’ were formulated by:
  • Wrong Answer Un-checked F.W. Taylor
  • Wrong Answer Un-checked Max Weber
  • Wrong Answer Un-checked Peter Drucker
  • Correct Answer Checked Henry Fayol
0 / 1 Points

Question 3: Multiple Choice

Henry Fayol, a French industrialist, is the Chief architect and father of the following school of management thoughts:
  •  Un-checked Operational management school
  • Wrong Answer Checked Human relations school
  • Wrong Answer Un-checked Social systems school
  • Wrong Answer Un-checked Decision theory school
1 / 1 Points

Question 4: Multiple Choice

Max Weber propounded the following school of management thought:
  • Wrong Answer Un-checked Administrative Management School
  • Correct Answer Checked Bureaucratic School
  • Wrong Answer Un-checked Operational Management School
  • Wrong Answer Un-checked Contingency School
0 / 1 Points

Question 5: Multiple Choice

The Concept of ‘Scientific Management’ was introduced by:
  • Wrong Answer Un-checked Henry Fayol
  • Wrong Answer Checked Hebert Simon
  •  Un-checked F.W. Taylor
  • Wrong Answer Un-checked Peter Drucker
0 / 1 Points

Question 6: Multiple Choice

The following is not an alternative term for ‘Human Behaviour School’ of management thought:
  •  Un-checked Human Relations School
  • Wrong Answer Un-checked Human Resource School
  • Wrong Answer Checked Behavioural Science School
  • Wrong Answer Un-checked Leadership School
0 / 1 Points

Question 7: Multiple Choice

The following schools of management thoughts “Modern Approach” or “Modern Theory” propounded during 1960s onward:
  • Wrong Answer Un-checked Systems School
  • Wrong Answer Un-checked Contingency School
  • Wrong Answer Checked Learning Organisation School
  •  Un-checked Decision theory School
0 / 1 Points

Question 8: Multiple Choice

Which of the following statements is correct?
  • Wrong Answer Checked ‘Systems School’ and ‘Contingency School’ are one and the same thing.
  • Wrong Answer Un-checked ‘Systems School’ is an improvement over the ‘Contingency School’.
  •  Un-checked ‘Contingency School’ is an improvement over the ‘Systems School’.
  • Wrong Answer Un-checked None of the above statement is correct.
0 / 1 Points

Question 9: Multiple Choice

Which one is the odd in the following alternative terms?
  • Wrong Answer Un-checked Management Science School
  •  Un-checked Situational School
  • Wrong Answer Checked Quantitative Measurement School
  • Wrong Answer Un-checked Mathematical School
1 / 1 Points

Question 10: Multiple Choice

‘Human Relations School’ of Management Thought is also known as
  • Correct Answer Checked Behavioural Science School
  • Wrong Answer Un-checked Systems School
  • Wrong Answer Un-checked Decision Theory School
  • Wrong Answer Un-checked Contingency School

4 / 10 Poin

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