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"Management" (from Old French , "ménagement"="the art ofconducting, directing", from Latin "manum agere"="lead by the hand") characterises theprocess of leading and directing all or part of an organization, often a business one, through the deployment and manipulation of resources (human, financial, material, intellectual or intangible). One can also think of managementfunctionally: as the action in measuring a quantity on a regular basis and adjusting an initial plan and the actions taken to reach one's intended goal. This applies even in situations where planning does not takeplace. Situational management may precede and subsume purposive management.

Historical Development

Some writers trace the development of management thought back to Sumerian tradersand ancient Egyptian pyramid builders, but modern management as a discipline began as anoff-shoot of economics in the 19th century. Classical economists like Adam Smith and John StuartMill provided a theoretical background to resource allocation, production, and pricing issues. About the same time,innovators like Eli Whitney , James Watt , and Matthew Boulton developed technicalproduction elements such as standardization , quality control procedures, cost accounting , interchangeability of parts, and work planning . Bythe middle of the 19th century people like Robert Owen , H. Poor, and MLaughlin introduced the human element with theories of worker training, motivation , organizational structure and span of control.

By the late 19th century marginal economists like Alfred Marshall and Leon Walras introduced a new layer of complexity to the theoretical underpinings of management. The firsttertiary-level course in management was offered in 1881 by J. Wharton. By 1900 we find managers trying to place their theories ona thoroughly scientific basis. Examples include H. Towne's Science of management, Frederick Winslow Taylor 's Scientific management , Frank Bunker Gilbreth 's Science of motion study, and Henry L. Gantt 's charts. J. Duncan wrote the first college management text book in 1911.

The first comprehensive theories of management appeared around 1920. People like H. Fayol and A. Church described the variousbranches of management and their inter-relationships. In the 1920s and 1930s people like O. Tead, W. Scott and J. Mooney appliedthe principles of psychology to management. Also in the early 20th centurypeople like Elton Mayo , M. Follett, C. Barnard, Max Weber , Rensis Likert , and Chris Argyris applied the principles of sociology to management.

H. Dodge, R. Fisher, and T. Fry introduced statistical techniques into management. In the 1940s, Patrick Blackett combined these statisticaltheories with microeconomic theory and spawned the science of operations research was born. Operations research, sometimes known as"management science", has attempted to make a science of some aspects ofmanagement.

Some of the more recent developments include the theory ofconstraints , reengineering , and various information technology driven theories such as agile software development . The theory of constraints approach to management boils the effortdown to a repetitive cycle of three basic questions—What to change? To what to change to? How to make the changehappen?

At the end of the 20th century, management was seen as consisting of the following six subcategories:

  1. Human resource management
  2. Operations or production management
  3. Strategic management
  4. Marketing management
  5. Financial management
  6. Information Technologymanagement

In the 21st century we find it increasingly difficult to think in terms of these six categories. More and more processessimultaneously involve several categories. Instead, we tend to think in terms of the various processes, tasks, and objects thatone can manage.

Different varieties/objects of management

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