Could there be any concept more complicated than philosophy? Ask ten philosophers what philosophy is, and you will get ten different answers, or questions.

In any case, you’ll end up more confused than before. Now add that term to management, and that’s a recipe for a headache. Don’t worry, for the sake of your sanity I’m going to clear things up.

Definition of Management Philosophy

Management philosophy is a set of beliefs or rules used by managers to help them make decisions. It looks simple enough, but remember that this is also philosophy, and that means there’s always another layer (don’t worry, I won’t answer you with a question).

The extra layer refers to the meaning or reason as to why you would choose to use those rules. This is important because it provides a powerful sense of purpose and motivation. A good management philosophy gives direction and cohesion to the organization.

Management Theories

These are the most important theories about management philosophy:

  • The Scientific Theory by Frederick W. Taylor. The key to this approach relies on three factors: Simplify tasks as much as possible, divide work equally, and use monetary incentives.
  • The Administrative Theory by Henri Fayol. Managers are the most important part of an organization. The more prepared they are, the more the organization will prosper.
  • The Bureaucratic Theory by Max Weber. A strict order with clear rules is what makes an organization successful because everyone knows what they’re supposed to do.
  • The Human Relations Theory by Elton Mayo. An organization is made from people who must work with each other, by creating positive relations between them the whole organization benefits.
  • The Systems Theory by Ludwig von Bertalanffy. An organization is a system with many different parts, and like any system, its parts must act in harmony to make the system work.
  • The X & Y Theory by Douglas McGregor. There are two ways of understanding employee motivation: Theory X sees the worker as lazy, selfish, and in need of constant supervision. Theory Y sees the worker as a motivated individual that can be trusted.