7 Types of Workplace Management Theories: Everything You Should Know

One common feature among successful companies is that they take care of every little aspect of their business. The seemingly irrelevant and minuscule component of business can impact the company’s bigger goals as well. This is why companies hold meetings with the heads of departments at regular intervals to gauge the performance of individual departments and brainstorm over the methods that can help improve the company. There are many newer management practices that the companies adopt to increase productivity. One such field is workplace management. 

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What is Workplace Management? 

Workplace Management focuses on improving the efficiency of the employees and the entire office. It involves devising various strategies to improve the business’s physical aspects, such as deciding on the lights to be used, organising the office space well, etc. Workplace Management aims to ensure healthy and conducive working conditions for employees.

7 Types of workplace management theories

1. Scientific management theory

According to this theory, forcing people to produce results and work effectively is not the best way to yield results from the employees. Instead, a scientific method should be followed to perform tasks in the workplace. These tasks should be simplified and allocated to people who have the ability and skills to perform them efficiently. According to this theory, it is necessary to provide proper monetary incentives to employees in order to motivate them to work harder.

2. Administrative management theory-

Although administrative management theory is explained by different management theorists, Henry Foyal is a well-known contributor to the theory. He listed 6 main functions of the managers: organise, forecast, plan, coordinate, command, and control. He developed 14 principles of management, which can help managers run the organisation efficiently. They have become really famous and still act as a management guide for managers.

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The 14 principles of management are:

  • Division of work-

Henry Fayol believed that employees are specialised in different areas. The organisation can benefit significantly if the proper division of work is done according to the employees’ skills. This will enhance the productivity and efficiency of workers and help the organisation achieve its targets. 

  • Authority and responsibility-

This principle says that management has the authority to order employees or subordinates, indicating that they are responsible for their subordinate’s performance. Authority and responsibility always accompany each other. 

  • Discipline-

Discipline must prevail in an organisation. It will ensure the smooth working of the organisation.

  • Unity of command-

This principle says that an employee can receive orders from only one manager and should be answerable to them only. This will help avoid confusion and improve the efficiency of the employees.

  • Unity of direction-

The focus of all the employees should be in the same direction. The activities undertaken by the managers should focus on the completion of the same goal. The manager is responsible for planning and leading the team towards achieving these goals. 

  • Subordination of individual interests to the general interests-

According to Fayol, employee’s interests should always be subordinate to organisational interests, as achieving the company’s objectives is the primary goal. However, this does not mean turning a blind eye to employee complaints.

  • Remuneration-

It is essential to reward employees’ efforts. Employees should be satisfied with their monetary and non-monetary compensation, which will help them remain loyal to the company. 

  • Centralisation-

Centralisation means the concentration of power in the hands of the top management, while decentralisation implies the delegation of powers to all the levels of the organisation. It is advised to have a proper balance between the power distribution between the two in the company.

  • Scalar chain-

Every employee must be aware of their hierarchical position in the company. The chain of command should strictly be followed at all times.

  • Order-

According to this principle, the workplace should be clean and safe. Also, employees should have the resources at their disposal to perform their tasks on time. 

  • Equity-

The management should treat all the employees equally. There should not be discrimination of any kind. This will help increase employees’ loyalty toward the company.

  • Stability of tenure of personnel-

The organisation should aim at minimising staff turnover. This will reduce the organisation’s hiring costs and make the functioning of the organisation much smoother. 

  • Initiative-

Employees should be encouraged to express new ideas and carry out new plans. This will push employees in creative brainstorming sessions and help strengthen the relationship between the company and the employees.

  • Esprit de Corps-

This principle says that organisations should promote team spirit among the employees. This would help raise employees’ morale and create a positive work culture. 

3. Bureaucratic management theory

Developed by Max Weber, this type of theory focuses on having a structured chain of command in the organisation. The hierarchy helps define the scope of power clearly and facilitates the flow of order without any confusion. It also talks about setting boundaries between the personal and professional lives of the employees and the importance of having stringent rules and regulations in the company.

4. dataHuman relations theory-

The human relations theory was a result of the experiments conducted by Elton Mayo. He implemented various strategies such as giving longer break times, increasing the workload, etc.  To his surprise, he found that both negative and positive changes in working conditions of the employees lead to an improvement in performance. He concluded that employees react positively to the employers paying attention to them.

5. Contingency management theory

According to this theory, the company’s performance depends to a large extent on how well the managers can perform under different circumstances. As no one management style can suit all organisations and can be practised at different times, the ability of a manager to learn, adapt, execute, and improvise to the changing times plays a significant role in the organisation’s growth.

6. System management theory

This management theory states that every department or component of a business should have overall coordination for the business to be run in the most profitable manner. Managers need to ensure that this harmony is maintained and any disagreements are sorted timely.

7. Theory X and Y-

This theory states that there are two types of management: X and Y. Managers who think their employees are apathetic or dislike their work often use theory X. The managers here are authoritarian and micromanage everything. On the other hand, a manager who believes that the employees are self-motivated and committed follows theory Y and prioritises working in collaboration with the employees. He/she includes his team members in decision-making and fosters an environment of creativity and inclusiveness which helps the organisation achieve its goals. 

If you are interested in making a career in the field of Human Resource Management, you can check out the Executive Postgraduate Programme in Human Resource Management offered by the Loyola Institute of Business Administration associated with upGrad. You will get a chance to learn from industry experts and the esteemed faculty of LIBA. There are also practical projects available to help you deepen your understanding of the field. Furthermore, you get the alumni status of LIBA, which can create a huge difference in your professional journey.


Companies adopt different management practices that they think would benefit their organisation. They hire professionals and adopt different strategies to help them take care of even the more minor aspects of the business. Workplace management is increasingly becoming popular due to its positive impact on the productivity and efficiency of the entire organisation.

What are the roles and responsibilities of an HR manager?

HR managers have an essential role to play in a company. They perform numerous jobs, such as hiring and training the employees, analysing their performances and maintaining conducive work culture.

What is the salary of an HR Manager?

The salary of an HR manager in India is approximately INR 8 lPA. This number varies according to the experience, job location, and company.

What are the benefits of management theories?

Applying management theories in company operations has many advantages. It helps increase employee productivity, establish a proper chain of command, and ensure cooperation among employees and departments. Plus, it is proof that over time, many organisations have significantly benefited from the implementation of these management theories. They have seen an expansion of profit and improved work culture in the organisation.

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