Management theory

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The management theory examines all processes associated with the management of organizations related. It is thus a doctrine of the design, control and development of purpose-oriented social systems .

Teaching strives for a high level of practical relevance and draws on research results and experience from various neighboring disciplines.

Management theory and business administration

Management theory presents itself as an extension of business administration to a science of corporate management. A definitional difficulty lies in the precise delimitation of business administration from other sciences. On the one hand, there are broad methodological, but also content-related overlaps with traditional economics and administrative sciences , also known as political sciences . On the other hand, from the point of view of application-oriented science, their focus quickly turns out to be too narrow. A "business science" limited to the economic is not only not able to generate statements relevant to practice, it is also hardly able to gain empirical knowledge at all. For this reason, a development towards an interdisciplinary science of the management of social institutions is emerging for business administration . As a management theory , it becomes an independent real science that draws on knowledge from economics , law , computer science , sociology , engineering , psychology , ecology, etc. to a varying extent .

This has the following consequences compared to business administration:

  • The methodological foundation is becoming increasingly important and is establishing itself as an independent area of ​​responsibility.
  • Empirical research is gaining in importance, and many more practical problem areas have to be addressed.
  • The necessary modeling of complex information systems and the formulation of decision models contribute to the mathematization of the subject.
  • Individual statements from adjacent areas of science must be integrated into the teaching. And finally:
  • Science has to face new challenges in ethics , ecology and computer science.

Their focus is less on an object of knowledge in the material sense, but rather as a theory of the design, control and development of purpose-oriented social systems . With this development, business administration is expanded beyond a decision-oriented and more descriptively oriented science to a science of corporate management. In this way, a clear reference to business practice is established and the practical scientific goal is more strongly emphasized.

Management theory as production management

Production management

In addition to general management, a distinction is usually made between three management functions for each type of company:

The integration of the traditional approaches and the newer, more explicit focus on value creation and thus on the process of creating a service are shown in the production management picture. It becomes clear that management is essentially about controlling the process (not its actual implementation) of a resource transformation into a service and in kind. The main task of management is therefore the planning, organization, implementation and control of this process. For this purpose, goals serve as guides and instruments for the fulfillment of tasks.

The scientific approaches " Scientific Management ", " Situational Management ", " Decision-Oriented Management " and " System-Oriented Management " span a framework that will probably develop further around the currently controversial approach of " evolutionary management ". These approaches can not only be traced historically, in them there is also a development of the management term , starting from a narrower meaning than " operational management ", which only meant planning, controlling, executing and controlling an operational production process, to the above-mentioned, current one comprehensive definition.

In the German-speaking area, the St. Gallen management model , developed by a team led by Fredmund Malik , in which cybernetics and system theory are used as the decisive fundamentals, as well as the, has played a major role in systematic development with a clear scientific claim to universal applicability Witten-Herdecke University , in whose approaches management theory is also oriented towards system-theoretical thinking. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is considered a leader in the international field .


Experts are still discussing whether management theory meets the strict criteria of a science. Influential management writer Peter Drucker initially stated that management could never become an exact science because it is primarily an art and relies on intuition that managers follow in performing their tasks. To this day, in the field of management theory, especially in the USA, there are very practical management recommendations that are marketed by so-called management gurus in a rather undifferentiated manner, but with considerable success and influence. There is therefore a broad “gray area” between “consultancy literature” and management literature that meets scientific standards. Nevertheless, management theory was already given the status of a science by other quarters.

Development of management systems

A view of the development of the practically predominant management concepts and their embedding in the stability of the environmental parameters of the company and their development is offered by Bild Development of Management Systems . First of all, the ability to assess future developments is presented here. While these initially seemed familiar, the increasingly turbulent changes were later considered at least capable of extrapolation. But above all technical innovations lead to discontinuities. At first they were considered familiar, i.e. the necessary consequences could be assessed. However, events such as the fall of the “ Iron Curtain ” or the Internet hype turned out to be discontinuities, the occurrence and effects of which could not be assessed.

The management systems developed accordingly. If they were initially directed inwards, towards the development of their own resources and organization, they then became increasingly more attentive to market developments. Ever more complex instruments for market observation and market forecasting were developed until the increasing turbulence in the environment forced one to abandon attempts to foresee the future and instead to be prepared as well as possible for every development through one's own development and setup. Comprehensive management diagnostics and the selection of managers using job- specific requirement profiles are a logical addition.


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Wolfgang Staehle, Peter Conrad, Jörg Sydow: Management. Vahlen, Munich 1999, ISBN 3-8006-2344-7 , pp. 71f.
  2. After: E. Zahn, U. Schmid: Production Management I: Basics and operational production management. Lucius & Lucius, Stuttgart 1996, ISBN 3-8252-8126-4 , p. 7.
  3. Jay Heizer, Barry Render: Operations Management. 8th edition. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River (NJ) 2006, ISBN 0-13-185755-X , p. 4.
  4. In Taylor's two main works , "Shop Management " (1903) and " Principles of Scientific Management " (1911) - published in Germany in 1910 and 1913 under the titles "Die Betriebsleitung " (!) And "The principles of scientific management “(!) At Oldenbourg in Munich - this traditional management term is decisively shaped.
  5. Dirk Baecker : Starting points of a sociological management theory. In: Ders .: Organization and Management. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2003, ISBN 3-518-29214-5 , pp. 218-255.
  6. Peter Drucker: Practice of Management: A Guide for Management Tasks in Modern Economy. Econ, Düsseldorf 1965.
  7. ^ L. Gulick: Management is a science. In: Academy of Management Journal. 1, 1965, pp. 7-13.


Trade journals