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Management: Models of


Management is the process of reaching individual and collective goals by working with and through human and nonhuman resources to improve the world. Managerial values include performance effectiveness (achieving goals), operational efficiency (not wasting resources in the process), sustainable innovation (continually improving outputs and processes), and adding value (as measured by stakeholder responsiveness). Good managers demonstrate sound judgment by balancing these four competing but complementary values.

The four values inherent to some degree at all levels of management are embodied in four management models. Those models focus on rational goals, internal process, human relations, and open systems (Quinn et al. 1995), each of which involves ethical issues that have relevance for the management of science and technology.

Rational Goal Model

The rational goal model, which Frederick Taylor (1856–1915) introduced at the beginning of the twentieth century, stresses the importance of managerial external control that results from the exercise of director and producer role responsibilities in order to employ humans and other tools to engineer optimal productivity (Taylor 1911). Performance effectiveness is achieved through setting goals, speeding productivity, and increasing profits faster than external competitors can and by using time-and-motion studies, financial incentives, and technological power to maximize output.

Three of Taylor's followers—Henry Gantt (1861–1919) and Frank (1868–1924) and Lillian (1878–1972) Gilbreth—expanded the rational goal approach by using new engineering techniques (time and motion studies) that enhanced the ability of technological experts to expand productivity. Time and motion studies provided detailed information about job activities such as grasping, searching, transporting, or assembling and the time it took to complete them in order to measure normal and superior productivity standards.

The strength of this model is that it accounts for managers' providing structure and initiating action. The exclusive and extreme emphasis on the rational goal model, however, imposes fast-paced, robotlike movements on people that were impossible to sustain, and this neglect of individual psychosocial needs in the pursuit of economic returns tends to result in offended individuals and destroy cohesion at the organizational level.

At the microeconomic and geopolitical levels the rational goal model of management was advanced indirectly by Alfred Marshall (1842—1924) and James Burnham (1905—1987), respectively. Marshall was a neoclassical economist who explained how the price and output of a good are determined by both supply and demand curves, such as the price and output of new automobiles that are determined by the demand of the buyers and the supply from the manufacturers, that are like scissor blades that intersect at an optimal point of equilibrium. It is at this point of equilibrium that buyers, sellers, and/or managers could and should rationally optimize their utility values by clearing the external market (see Figure 1).

Burnham's later neoconservative geopolitical works argue that because of the unceasing desire for power among an oligarchy of managerial elites from the three major global "super-states," the struggle for external political control of the world requires a decisive victory by strong-willed U.S. political leadership that exercises an aggressive geopolitical strategy by using all the offensive resources at its disposal. The perceived overreliance on the rational goal model at the microeconomic and geopolitical levels to secure external global control has led to the expected results of offended stakeholders and has destroyed cohesion at those extraorganizational levels as well.

Internal Process Model

The internal process model introduced by Henri Fayol (1841–1925) in the first quarter of the twentieth century stresses the importance of managerial internal control that results from the exercise of the monitor and coordinator role responsibilities in order to exert authority over humans to maintain the stability of hierarchic administration. Operational efficiency is achieved through information management, documentation control, and consolidated continuity and by emphasizing process measurement, smooth functioning of organizational operations, and the maintenance of structural order (Fayol 1916). Fayol described the five functions of management as planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating, and controlling and laid down fourteen principles of good administration, with the most important elements being specialization of labor, unity and chain of command, and the routine exercise of authority to ensure internal control.

Another key exponent of operational efficiency in managing large groups was the sociologist Max Weber (1864–1920), who described and advocated the indispensability of bureaucracy. Weber's ideal bureaucracy included authority, hierarchy, formal rules and regulations, and impersonality in rule application. His ideal bureaucrat neutrally and efficiently manages by the book and follows orders from above even if they go against his or her personal convictions.

When the internal process model is applied to politico-economic control, socialist and communist regulatory infrastructures constrain the negative externalities of the free market but create the risk of stifling technological and politico-economic innovations through overregulation. The strength of this model is that it accounts for managers' maintaining structure and collecting information. The exclusive and extreme emphasis on the internal process model, however, results in stifled progress and neglected possibilities at the organizational and extraorganizational levels.

Human Relations Model

The human relations model, which Elton Mayo (1880–1949) popularized in the second quarter of the twentieth century, stresses the importance of the managerial internal flexibility that results from the exercise of facilitator and mentor role responsibilities in order to improve human relations at work and enhance extraorganizational stakeholder responsiveness. Stakeholder responsiveness is achieved by showing managerial consideration for employees' psychosocial needs to belong, fostering informal group collaboration, and providing recognition at work as well as promoting managerial social responsibility and humane community building in society (Mayo 1933). Mayo's research at the Hawthorne Works demonstrated that management consideration, employee group affiliation, and special recognition motivated can increase productivity.

Peter Drucker (b. 1909), although critical of Mayo's perceived psychological manipulation of employee loyalty, promotes the value of the socially responsible use of managerial power and humane community building. He argues that in a global knowledge society managerial power can and should be applied to the nonprofit sector because that appears to be the primary sector that is focusing on creating socially responsible citizens and giving knowledge workers a sphere in which they can make a positive difference and re-create meaningful communities.

The strength of this model is that it accounts for managers' showing consideration and facilitating supportive interaction with intraorganizational and extraorganizational stakeholders. The exclusive and extreme emphasis on the human relations model, however, creates the risk of slowing production at work and abdicating decision-making authority in society.

Open Systems Model

The open systems model introduced by Paul Lawrence (b. 1933) and Jay Lorsch (b. 1934) in the third quarter of the twentieth century stresses the importance of the managerial external flexibility that results from exercising the innovator and broker role responsibilities in order to adapt continually to changing environmental forces (Lawrence and Lorsch 1967). Sustainable innovation is achieved by cultivating organizational learning cultures, developing cross-functional organizational competencies for continuous creativity, and respecting quality and ecological system limits while negotiating for external resource acquisition, building sustainable entrepreneurial networks, and enabling creative system improvement.

W. Edwards Deming (1900–1993) used statistical quality control to separate special and common causes of variation, fixing the former and accepting the latter to improve production systems continually by narrowing the range of acceptable performance variation over time. Deming's message to managers was that because most performance variations are the result of common causes, that is, fall within a normal range of statistical variation, managers should focus on improving the production system instead of overcontrolling employees.

Paul Shrivastava (b. 1939) focuses on entrepreneurial ecocentric management of sustainable development systems that technologically prevent and/or control pollution of nature and corruption of sociopolitical systems over time. The strength of this model is that it accounts for managers' envisioning improvements and acquiring resources for sustainable system development. The exclusive and extreme emphasis on the open systems model, however, results in disrupted operational continuity and energy wasted on unrealistic change projects.

Ethics of Management

The four management models for handling behavioral complexity have management ethics parallels in handling moral complexity, that is, inclusively balancing the competing moral values of achieving good results, following the right rules, cultivating a virtuous character, and creating supportive contexts (Petrick and Quinn 1997). In effect, the way people manage—make managerial judgments—implicitly and/or explicitly discloses their moral value priorities: the relative emphases they place on results, rules, character, or context in their moral choices. Rational goal "bottom line" managers are naturally disposed to emphasize results-oriented teleological ethics theories; internal process "by the book" managers are naturally disposed to emphasize rule-oriented deontological ethics theories; human relations "bleeding heart" managers are naturally disposed to emphasize character-oriented virtue ethics theories; and open systems "change agent" managers are naturally disposed to emphasize context-oriented situation ethics theories. Nevertheless, just as the balance and inclusiveness of the four management models determine the quality of managerial behavioral complexity judgment, the balance and inclusiveness of the four ethics theories determine the quality of managerial moral complexity judgment as well.

Especially in bringing these ethical issues to bear in the management of science and technology, the economist Adam Smith's (1723–1790) social calculus of adding individual selfish motives to the greater good must be supplemented by the insight that managers often are faced with ethical responsibilities that run counter to their actual or perceived self-interest. Otherwise, management ethics would be synonymous with corporate profit or self-promotion. A case in point would be the uncritical scientific endorsement of genetically modified human foods for global profit without morally considering the harmful effects of genetically modified foods on the health of current and future human generations.

Management ethics involves a complex and inclusive balancing of multiple stakeholder interests, internal and external to organizations, domestically and globally. For example, business managers that focus only on advancing the financial interests of investors while neglecting other stakeholders' interests, such as those of employees, society, and nature, are increasingly criticized for an unduly narrow and short-term managerial ethics perspective. The ability to simultaneously and/or sequentially optimize moral results, rules, character, and context in a sustained way for multiple stakeholders at intraorganizational and extraorganizational levels is becoming the touchstone of sound management ethics and the basis of hope for moral progress in the future.


SEE ALSO Bureaucracy; Engineering Ethics: Overview; Entrepreneurism; Stakeholders; Work.


Deming, W. Edwards (1993). The New Economics for Industry, Government, Education. Cambridge, MA: MIT Center for Advanced Engineering Study.

Drucker, Peter F. (1973). Management: Tasks, Responsibilities and Practices. New York: Harper and Row.

Evans, William A. (1981). Management Ethics: An Intercultural Perspective. Boston: Martinus Nijhoff. Covers several topics and focuses on the theme of individual responsibility. Develops a guide to management ethics.

Fayol, Henri. (1916). General and Industrial Management. London: Pittman.

Lawrence, Paul, and Jay Lorsch. (1967). Organization and Environment. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Mayo, Elton. (1933). The Human Problems of an Industrial Civilization. New York: Macmillan.

Petrick, Joseph, and John Quinn. (1997). Management Ethics: Integrity at Work. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Quinn, Robert E.; Sue R. Faerman; Michael P. Thompson; and Michael R. McGrath. (1995). Becoming a Master Manager: A Competency Framework, 2nd edition. New York: Wiley.

Shrivastava, Paul. (1996). Greening Business: Profiting the Corporation and the Environment. Cincinnati, OH: Thomson Executive Press.

Taylor, Frederick. (1911). The Principles of Scientific Management. New York: Harper and Brothers.

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