If Hotel Supervisors and Hotel Managers could learn nothing else this year about Management Theory they could truly benefit from learning about the following 5 management theorists; their work has given rise to many of the best (and the worst) practices used to guide and grow Hotels of all sizes today (read on or watch the video).

Here’s a very quick overview of the five theorists you should know about and just a few words on their fascinating work.

Frederick W. Taylor (1856-1915) Frederick Taylor’s Scientific Management work was amongst the first to study worker productivity and how best to increase it. Taylor promoted standardisation and specialisation by suggesting that workplace tasks be broken down into a sequence of smaller steps. He concluded that managers should assign workers to a job that best matched their ability, train them thoroughly and supervise them to ensure that they worked efficiently. However, Taylor ignored the humanity of the individual in favour of finding the best way to complete any given task.

Henri Fayol (1841-1925) Henri Fayol’s Principles of Administrative Management are considered to be some of the most influential contributors to modern management theory. Fayol examined an organisation through the eyes of the managers and the situations they might encounter. He believed that management has six paramount functions: to forecast, plan, organise, command, coordinate and control. Fayol developed 14 principles of administration that outlined how managers should organise and interact with employees. His principles, which have become key guidelines in many of today’s workplaces, cover topics ranging from the importance of maintaining an orderly and clean facility to the value of promoting employee initiative and teamwork.

Max Weber (1864-1920) Max Weber’s Bureaucratic Management focused on structuring organisations in a hierarchical fashion with clear rules of governance. Weber’s principles for creating an ideal bureaucratic system include a clear division of labour, a hierarchical chain of command, separation between the personal and organisational assets of the owner, meticulous record keeping and documentation, strict and consistent regulations and rules and the selection and promotion of employees based on qualifications and not personal relationships or personalities.

Elton Mayo (1880-1949) Elton Mayo’s Human Relations movement conducted experiments aimed at improving productivity amongst dissatisfied employees. He changed working conditions, including lighting, temperature, break times, and the length of the workday but observed that regardless of the change, there was always an increase in worker productivity. This led Mayo and his team to conclude that increases in workers’ performance weren’t due to changes in their environment but a result of somebody paying attention to them and of feeling valued as being part of a unified group collaborating together.

Douglas McGregor’s (1906-1964) Theories X and Y work concluded that there are two fundamentally different styles of management that are guided by managers’ perceptions of their team members’ motivations. Theory X is authoritarian in nature and is used by managers who assume that employees are apathetic or dislike their work. Theory Y is a participative management style used by managers who believe that workers are self-motivated, responsible and committed to taking ownership of their work. Theory X leads to micromanaging, whilst Theory Y gives rise to a more collaborative and decentralised workplace.

If you learn nothing else about Management Theory and Practise this year, find out a bit more about each of these 5 famous management theorists and apply what you learnt to where you work at the moment?

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