What Are the Six Theories of Management?

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The six theories of management are classical management, scientific management, bureaucracy, human relations, contingency and system theories. All of these different theories evolved during the 19th and 20th centuries, and describe different perspectives about how management can be formulated.

The classical theory emphasizes structure, and has such features as a clear division of labor and unity of command and direction. The scientific method emphasizes efficiency and productivity, and is strict regarding time and space usage. Bureaucratic systems place a stronger emphasis on authority systems and rules, which most people abide by. The human relations management system focuses on human factors, such as motivation — both in the individual and in groups. The contingency theory focuses on identifying problems first, and then creating solutions for them as a way of management. Finally, the system management theory focuses on the complexity and interdependency of systems by combining all components and analyzing their overall impact to the company’s productivity.