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Compare and contrast management schools


Proper business management is the desire of every investor. But the best approach to management the business to ensure maximum and sustained returns has been a challenge. This paper will discuss the theories of management by Henry Ford and by Abraham Maslow. It will first introduce each concept of management explaining the underlying logic, then give a brief comparison and contrast before drawing a conclusion based on the discussion.

Scientific management school of thought by Henry Ford

According to this theory, the key object of management should be to have maximum prosperity for the company or the employer and also the maximum prosperity for the worker. Maximizing the prosperity as used here refers to the broad sense not only to mean large dividends for the company owner or share holders but also developing every business branch to a very high degree of excellence and sustaining such prosperity. Highest prosperity also translates to prosperity of all employees in terms of wages that are higher than what other people of their job class should be earning, developing each employee irrespective of whether he or she is in the management level or at worker level to 3ensure they attain their maximum efficiency so that they

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may generally be able to execute the highest quality of work within the capability of their natural abilities as well as directing employees to do this class of work.

According to this theory, in most cases, larger part of employees and employers do not believe that it is possible to have an arrangement where their mutual relations , a case whereby the interests of employees and the interests of employers can be identical in relation to attaining maximum prosperity, is possible (Kelley,2005,p.144). Yet according to this theory, it is obvious that maximum prosperity for the company owners/ employers together with maximum prosperity for the company workers/ employees should be the two key leading aims of any business management efforts. Most employees and employers have a notion that their interests are antagonistic.  But based on scientific management approach, the true interests of employers and their employees are one and the same, the prosperity of the company or employer cannot be long lived and sustained without the accompaniment of the employees prosperity. The reverse is also true. At the same time, it is possible to offer the employees their greatest desires in terms of high wages while the employers gets their greatest desires in terms of low labor costs and maximum profits from their investments. In contrast, some employees have a negative attitude towards these views and have made attempts to get the largest amount of work done by their employees for the minimum possible wages and thus attaining their objectives only while jeopardizing the fate of their employees. In the case of any single person, the greatest prosperity can only be attained when the person has performed his job at his greatest state of efficiency, therefore giving out his or her greatest output possible per day. In a manufacturing set up that is complex, the greatest prosperity can be attained only when is at the greatest possible level for both men and the machines being used. This is when each man and each machine are on a daily basis doing more work than your immediate competitors around you, it is obvious that effects associated with competition will prevent the employer from awarding higher wages to his workers. If the competitors are offering better packages than this employer, it is likely that the employees will shift to the greener pastures and a likely collapse of the company will eventually follow unless a good management plan is devised. Maximum productivity exists in cases where there is a maximum productivity activity. Following these concepts, it is important to have both workers and the company management to be trained and each individual in the establishment should be developed so that they perform duties at very fast pace with maximum efficiency (the highest class of work) within his or her natural capabilities. Eliminating slow working pace and arranging the relationship between employers and employees such that each employee will work to his best advantage and best speed together with intimate cooperation between the employees and the management would result, on the average, to a doubled output of each worker as well as of each working machine (Wahba,1976,p.230).

Human Relations management school of thought by Abraham Maslow

Abraham Maslow theory identifies 5 goals which he tags them the ‘basic needs’. These needs are physiological, love, self actualization/ self- fulfillment, esteem and safety. Development of modern management is associated with a shift to give more attention to human factors of production which forms the basis for the human relations management school of thought. Human relations are key to the development and sustainability of a company or an organization (Bridwell,2000,p.154). Many people and many organizations in the stance from which they view human relations, and this brings different ways of interpreting the concept. Human relations from the stance of management and also in relation to working environment and can be classified in to two: First, industrial relations which refer to human relations within meetings held between company management and its workers, and secondly the personal relations which refer to relations between different people in their place of work. To ensure improved and developed industry, the element of human relations should be improved at all levels of management. Most managements have improved through the adoption of this theory.

However, the policy of having improved human relations has been embarked by most companies and employers because of its admirable impacts in the productivity and not because of the more basic aim of producing a good and balanced attitude to the needs of the employees, both personal and socials. Mere aim of attaining higher out put may fail to bring the greater out put and also satisfaction to the employees. But aiming to bring higher higher personal and social satisfaction to employees at work and environment may not only lead to higher output by the company but also job satisfaction.

Good human relations are only attained when the needs of an individual employee are satisfied and he or she is stimulated or motivated to work. This concept is faced with a big challenge, when a company tries to satisfy the needs of different employees while considering the values of equality, because some employees may have different response to a given offer from the company while the others may be very comfortable with it. It is possible to generalize the average response evoked in certain situations and be able to make conclusions concerning attitudes, hopes, fears and aspirations of employees in regard to the work and work environment. How these hopes and desires are fulfilled determines the degree of how the worker feels satisfied with the job and in turn, the level to which each worker gets job satisfaction is a measure of how each worker will willingly apply his or her abilities while executing his or her duties. According to Maslow theory, to have job satisfaction should be the ultimate goal for those who are in charge of organizing and controlling workers (Mook,1987,p.169). To attain this goal, those who manage human resources should provide the right kind of of motivation to all workers in the organization. The work environment refer to factors which affect individual workers at place of work. Among others, it includes management  and unions that concerns the workers, the working teams to which they belong, the organization’s policies on motivation, agreements they have made concerning productivity, the physical conditions as well as the physiological considerations of the job situation and work environment.

Concepts Compared

The scientific management school of thought and the human relations approach to management have shared some aspects in their theory. First, Abraham Maslow and Henry Ford during the development of their theories has the idea of business development and sustainability in mind. Both share the aspect of ensuring the employers get maximum economic returns from their investments from the works done by the employees. Both theories have also recognize the tendencies of most employers trying to exploit their employees so that they may maximize their benefits while neglecting the benefits the employees should be entitled. The theories also tackle the tendency of employers and employees thinking that their goals are antagonistic to one another (Edward,2003,p.212). It is essential to note that the two theories clearly support the idea of developing the human resources as being key to organization’s development. The theories also agree on the point that the employees need to be motivated to work more faster either by satisfaction of their needs, both personal and collective. The incentive that comes clearly is the issue of increasing the employees salaries.

Concepts Contrasted

There has been a notable disparity in the theory of scientific management approach by Henry Ford and the Abraham Maslow’s human relations approach to management. First, Scientific approach is about developing the capabilities of both the employees and the employer simultaneously to ensure maximum productivity of both and maximum benefits to both (Bassett,2002,p.98). On this issue, the human relations approach has its stand that the development of employees only can bring the desired productivity in the industry. It argues that very few failure cases have been reported by businesses that adopted their theory. Second, while Scientific approach views interests of employers and employees as identical, the human relations approach is partisan and leans towards prosperity of the employer only, suggests motivation for employees but not increased pay. The Henry Ford’s approach is based on scientific concepts and empirical expressions and can be transferred to other kinds of businesses provided the conditions for this school of thought are satisfied. On the other hand, Abraham Maslow’s theory is based on literature and pure theory. It is not transferable because each business set up has its own characteristics. Under this incentive and initiative type of management the whole issue lies upon the workers while under scientific approach, one half of the business issue is up to the workmen and the other is up to the management.


The two theories of management are meant to ensure increased productivity and increased profitability. The Scientific approach to management appears more suitable for sustained maximum business performance. Both theories have been applied and proved good. A combination of the best aspects from each theory could have synergistic effect on management and therefore  is the recommendation.


Bassett, M. (2002). Science Psychology.  New York: Harper & Row.

Bridwell, L. (2000).  Organization at Action. Chapel Hill: University of Virginia Pr.

Edward, H. (2003). Human Motivation Theory. Ohio: Ohio State Univ. Press.

Kelley,E. (2005). Scientific management: Organization Management, 30 (2), 129-152.

Mook, D. (1987). Motivation. London: W.W. Norton & Company press.

Wahba, M. (1976). Reconsidering Maslow: Theory of Need Hierarchy. Journal of Human Behavior and Performance, 15, 212-240.


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