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List of Different Types of Management Styles

Rashida Khilawala Feb 15, 2020
Management is the buzzword in the corporate world today. Management styles are concepts and theories, that influence the general work environment of an organization. Management styles can vary a bit with a change in leadership; however, the crux of management remains the same.
Through the years, economists and business gurus have fostered and developed several management styles, each surfacing from a different school of thought. However, they all have the same bottom line - profit. They may follow different routes, but are headed to the same destination - good business! Different "styles" are also propounded with reference to the leadership style that a manager follows. Styles of management have seen an evolution of sorts due to the dynamism of the corporate world as an entity.

Types of Management Styles

Taylorism (Scientific Management)

This is one of the earliest management styles. Propounded and developed by Frederick Winslow Taylor in 1900, the concept of Scientific Management is also known as "Taylorism." This method believed in the concept of "One Best Way", to perform a certain task.
In general, Taylorism believed in the following principles:
  • Decision-making should be under the purview of the management. This ensures that emotions are not the governing factor for a business. More so, decision-making is more professional in the hands of managers because they can be unbiased and have a scientific approach towards management.
  • Developing a standard method to perform each job. This helps in having uniformity in the production. Standard methods speed up the production process and create an environment of expertise.
  • Selecting workers with appropriate abilities for each job to create an environment of excellence and complete understanding of the task.
  • Workers to be trained on the standard methods that were previously developed and fine-tuned.
  • Providing complete support to employees so that they can plan their work and eliminate interruptions.
  • In case of increased output by a certain employee, he/she is rewarded with a wage incentive, or bonus.

Fayolism (Process Approach)

The process approach was propounded by Henri Fayol in the 1920s. As such, it is popularly known as "Fayolism." Fayolism follows 14 principles of administration:

~ Division of work
~ Authority
~ Discipline
~ Unity of command
~ Unity of direction
~ Subordination of Individual Interests to the common Interest
~ Remuneration of personnel
~ Centralization
~ Scalar chain
~ Order
~ Equity
~ Stability of personnel tenure
~ Initiative
~ Esprit de corps (Union is strength)
Fayolism, the second one amongst the early business management styles, is a modification of Taylorism. However, the modifications made this management style very different from Taylorism as it was broader in perspective.

Fayolism believed that each organization has 16 management duties. These are:
1. To give serious thought to the plans of the company and have them firmly executed.
2. To have the required number of employees and equipment, with which the plans of the organization can be executed.
3. To set up a 'unique direction' (top management) which is skilled and vigorous.
4. To consult others before taking actions, in order to coordinate efforts
5. To work on formulating decisions in a clear, clean, and precise way.
6. To have an efficient recruitment system, with each department being led by a skilled and active person, and selecting an employee for the position where he can perform to his potential.
7. To define clearly the job description of each and every employee so that deadlines and expectations are set.
8. To encourage people so that they take up initiatives and responsibilities.
9. To pay appropriately, fairly, and expertly, for the services provided to the organization.
10. To have a system of correcting faults and errors made by the employees.
11. To ensure discipline in the organization.
12. To aim at having individual interests subordinated to the organization's interest.
13. To give special attention to the 'unity of command'.
14. To supervise social order; keeping the place tidy, and avoiding strikes.
15. To verify output by applying quality control on every operation.
16. To conquer the "red ribbon" attitude.

As per Fayolism, a manager should have the following 7 qualities:

1. Health and vigor
2. Cleverness
3. Moral qualities
4. General knowledge (culture)
5. Management capacity
6. Notions about other functions (activities)
7. The strongest skills in the function managed
The process approach really simplified several production as well as service functions and is still widely followed. In fact, it is known as one of the most effective management styles.

The Hawthorne Effect

Developed in the 1930s and 1940s, the Hawthorne experiments by Elton Mayo, were the basis of this management style. This management style believed in the concept of: "A happy worker is a good worker." According to this management style, concentration was focused on providing employees with the required amenities.
Adequate light, a healthy diet, and a conducive environment were provided to the employees to ensure optimum output. This concept was developed on the basis of two beliefs:

1. People are not the rational and economic beings assumed by classical theorists.
2. Social interaction is important and people work well if they feel valued.
The Hawthorne experiments were divided in 3 parts.

♣ In the first part, a set of changes were made to the general work environment and timings.
• The rules governing salary were modified and the employees were paid for overall production, and not on the basis of their individual production.
• The employees were given two 5-minute breaks (after a discussion with them on the best length of time) and afterwards it was changed to two 10-minute breaks (not their preference). Productivity increased, but when the employees were given six 5-minute rests, the output was reduced.
• The employees were provided food during the breaks.
• On shortening the day by 30 minutes, the output went up; upon shortening it more, the output per hour went up, but overall output decreased.

♣ The second part involved conducting interviews with each of the employees to verify the impact of the experiments. It was concluded that the changes were welcomed, and that productivity and morale were high.
♣ The third part involved checking if incentives had any impact on the productivity of employees. As a result, it was found that peer compatibility and comparison had more consequential impact as compared to payment incentives.
The Hawthorne experiments highlighted the fact that human beings were the main resources for any organization and had to be kept happy to ensure high productivity.

Needs and Motives

Maslow's theory on the 'Hierarchy of Needs' had many implications as a management style. According to Maslow, every individual's needs are divided into a certain hierarchy.
♣ Physiological needs: These are the basic primal needs that every individual feels. They include:

• Food
• Shelter
• Clothing
• Warmth, etc.

♣ Safety Needs: Once the physiological needs are met, an person aims to meet his/her safety needs. This includes:

• Personal security
• Financial security
• Health and well-being
• Safety net against accidents/illness
♣ Social Needs: Once the safety needs are met, an individual would then graduate to his social needs. He will then want:

• Friends
• Intimacy
• Relationships
• Family

♣ Esteem Needs: By this stage, the individual feels the need for acceptance and status. Maslow stated two types of esteem needs; a lower one and a higher one.
The lower one is the need for respect from others, including status, recognition, fame, prestige, and attention. The higher one, on the other hand, is the need for self-esteem, strength, competence, mastery, self-confidence, independence, and freedom. The higher one comes later, because it rests more on inner competence, won with the help of experience.
A deprivation of these needs can lead to an inferiority complex, weakness, and helplessness, rendering the individual demotivated.

♣ Self-actualization Need: Once the esteem needs are met, an individual goes higher up the ladder. This is when he feels the need for self-actualizing. He needs to identify and realize the maximum of his potential.
This is the motive that all the lower motives lead to. People who are at this stage have a high level of self-motivation. Self-actualization is the final step in the motivation ladder.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs is followed to quite an extent today by many organizations. It is used as a guide for employee satisfaction and needs.

Management by Objectives

This is one of the recent management styles, and in today's diverse market, it is very useful. It was popularized by Peter Drucker in 1954.
The objective of Management by Objectives (MBO) is "To create empowered employees who have clarity of the roles and responsibilities expected from them, understand their objectives to be achieved and thus help in the achievement of organizational as well as personal goals."
Management by Objectives has the following advantages:

♣ Motivation: Participative environment that includes employees in goal setting, which motivates them to come to work.

♣ Better Communication and Coordination: This method has made general communication and coordination much easier and smoother.
Regular reviews, feedback, and an open-door policy help in creating an amicable environment in the organization.

♣ Clarity of Goals: With MBO, the objectives are "SMART":
• S - Specific
• M - Measurable
• A - Achievable
• R - Relevant
• T - Time bound
Despite its advantages, MBO has a few limitations. It concentrates on goals more than outcome. More so, it fails to state the context in which the goals are set. Appraisals are based on "What an employee should be" but not, "What an employee should do", and a few other organization-specific limitations.
However, principles of this management style are kept in mind for general management benefit.

As management encompasses man, money, and material needs, there are several aspects that govern and are governed by management styles.
As man is the first and foremost consideration, the leadership styles followed by different managers have led to forging different management styles as well.

Complex Man

This management style is a critique on the previous management styles. It believes in what is called, 'Safety Culture'.
Propounded by EH Schein in the 1960s, safety culture was developed because:
  • No single management style could succeed in improving the performance of all workers.
  • The motives of individuals were extremely complex and liable to change over time.
  • A high level of satisfaction did not necessarily lead to increased productivity.
As per safety culture, the following factors were pertinent to the safety interests of any organization:
• Prioritization of safety over production.
• Maintaining a high profile for safety in meetings.
• Personal attendance of managers at safety meetings and walkabouts.
• Face-to-face meetings with employees that featured safety as a topic.
• Job description that included safety contracts.
• Communication about safety issues, including pervasive channels of formal and informal communication and regular communication between the management, supervisors, and the workforce.
• Involvement of employees for the delegation of responsibility to maintain safety in the organization.
This style is used to a moderate extent with certain organization-specific modifications.

Popular Types of Management

Autocratic or Authoritarian

In this style, the complete authority is in one person's hand and nobody can question it. It is also known as totalitarianism or dictatorship. It does forge an atmosphere of discipline in the organization. However, it can at times, cause dissatisfaction and a lack of "creative space" for the employees.
For such a manager, the employees are just a replaceable resource and not the core of the organization. The manager believes in top-down communication, wherein orders are given by the higher hierarchical level to the lower ones. The concept of "employee satisfaction" does not hold importance for such a manager.


In this style, the authority is in the hands of an individual. However, that individual cares more about the employees than the profit of the organization. That means that the manager will be more like a parent rather than a boss. In this kind of management style, the complete authority lies in the hands of one individual; however, the method of functioning is very different as compared to the autocratic style. 'Employee satisfaction' holds higher priority than profit.


n this management style, the management allows the employees to voice their opinions freely. Most company policies and decisions are made after taking the opinion of the employees into consideration. It is also known as 'participative style' management. This means that a meeting is held with representatives from each hierarchical level, in order to take a decision about company policy, and rules and regulations.


Popularized around the world by multinational company Google, this management style believes that employees perform to their full potential when they are given a free hand. Many modern thinkers believe that chaotic management style allows an employee to work on his idea, without the interference of the management, and this helps in creating new innovations.
They are also of the opinion that the chaotic management style will be adopted by a lot of companies in the future as the management will need to be in sync with the fast-paced lifestyle of the employees.


In this management style, the targets are communicated to the employees; however, the employees can go about meeting those targets in whichever way they want. It is a very liberal management style. However, there is a lot of chaos in the delegation of authority as well as responsibility. Communication is free; however, more through the grapevine.
This leads to the employees taking their work for granted. On the other hand, the manager evades his/her duty very conveniently. If out of control, this management style can spell doom for an organization. However, it has been adopted by many organizations and has worked well in conjugation with the other 3 styles.
The management styles outlined above are more closely linked to the personality and leadership qualities of a manager. They are based on the style and principles followed by a manager in particular, not by the organization as a whole. If there is a change in a manager, an autocratically managed organization can become a paternalistic one.

Management Styles According to the Needs of an Organization

Management by Coaching and Development (MBCD)

In this management style, the manager is more like a coach in a nurturing role. The employees have a long learning curve and the general work experience is more like a learning experience. In this management style, the manager leads not by ordering, but by coaching, and performs his/her role of employee training.

Management by Competitive Edge (MBCE)

In this management style, the concept of healthy competition is duly fostered. Organizations following such a management style encourage their employees to compete with each other. This is mostly done with the help of rewards and recognition strategies.

Management by Consensus (MBC)

This management style is based on the lines of democratic style. It encourages the employees to give their opinions, suggestions, and feedback. This helps the organization in taking adequate employee-centric decisions. It is followed to quite an extent in organizations these days.

Management by Decision Models (MBDM)

In this management style, decision models are prepared in order to work as a precedent. These decision models are prepared with the help of hypothetical situations and projections made therefrom. This kind of a plan of action can work well, but in case of a contingency, it has the risk of failing.

Management by Information Systems (MBIS)

As the name of the management style suggests, it is based on results generated out of a database. The MBIS depends upon decision-making and inter-relatedness. It is used for efficiency analysis, and in increasing efficiency.

Management by Matrices (MBM)

In this management style, decisions and policies are made with reference to charts and variables. These charts help the management to figure out the efficiency, productivity, interrelation, and other factors.

Management by Organizational Development (MBOD)

In this management style, the managers work on improving the employee communication and relations. It is like the paternalistic style, but the organization's priority is profit rather than "employee satisfaction." Nonetheless, an organization following this management style will work on having good employee relations and communication.

Management by Performance (MBP)

In this management style, the key is performance. The managers believe that profitability is a derivative of performance. Hence, it works on motivating the employees to achieve higher targets. They do this with the help of rewards and recognition strategies, combined with employee satisfaction techniques.

Management by Styles (MBS)

This is probably the most flexible of all management styles. It believes in changing the management style and adapting it according to the changing scenario. As such, this management style is prepared for contingency in spite of being flexible.

Management by Walking Around (MBWA)

Dave Packard, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard, developed this management style. It believes in the process of the manager walking around the office and interacting with the employees. This not only helps the manager in getting a feel of the employee sector, but it also makes the employees feel cared for and connected to the management.

Management by Work Simplification (MBWS)

This management style believes in only one method - simplification. This is a very liberal method, yet it leads to discipline and control. Furthermore, employees feel secure and satisfied.

Management by Interaction

This management style believes that both male and female employees are required in an organization to achieve balance and optimum equilibrium in performance and profitability. Hence, it works on having conducive interpersonal relations between all employees, irrespective of their sex.
The bottom line that any management needs to keep in mind, is that along with making a profit, they need to ensure employee satisfaction as well. The perfect blend of positive and conducive aspects of all the management styles and techniques, can lead to a harmonious and profitable management style for any organization.