Last Updated 17 Aug 2022

Administrative Management Theory Advantages and Disadvantages

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It is the most comprehensive administrative management theory Henri Fayol's theory is extremely comprehensive as a way to deal with management techniques. It is also the most used because it has been proven to work. It’s being comprehensive as it covers just about anything one might need to do in a management position to ensure success.


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  • It is still based on human application

The weaknesses to the theory are that it is still based on humans.As humans we are naturally going to make mistakes. The theory works on the basis of having harmony among people in which unity forms to create a strong management team. However, when mistakes are made it can undermine the entire strength of the team. Furthermore, if a person is found to be false and will not admit it, more problems can ensue. This is the same weaknesses of any system that relies on humans to be in control given various factors like personality and that mistakes can be made.

  • Reliance on experience

Many of the writers in the management developed their ideas on the basis of their experiences as managers or consultants with only certain types of organizations. For instance, Fayol's work came primarily from his experiences with large manufacturing firms that were experiencing stable environments. It may be unwise to generalize from those situations to others especially to young, high-technology firms of today that are confronted daily with changes in their competitors' products.

  • Untested assumptions

Many of the assumptions made by classical writers were based not on scientific tests but on value judgments that expressed what they believed to be proper life-styles, moral codes, and attitudes toward success. For instance, the classical approaches seem to view the life of a worker as beginning and ending at the plant door. Their basic assumption is that workers are primarily motivated by money and that they work only for more money.

They also assume that productivity is the best measure of how well a firm is performing. These assumptions fail to recognize that employees may have wants and needs unrelated to the workplace or may view their jobs only as a necessary evil

  • Unintended consequences

Administrative management approaches aim at achieving high productivity, at making behaviors predictable, and at achieving fairness among workers and between managers and workers, yet they fail to recognize that several unintended consequences can occur in practice.

For instance, a heavy emphasis on rules and regulations may cause people to obey rules blindly without remembering their original intent. Oftentimes, since rules establish a minimum level of performance expected of employees, a minimum level is all they achieve. Perhaps much more could be achieved if the rules were not so explicit.

My take is that when he talks about "advantages and disadvantages of administrative management" he is talking very specifically about administrative rule making authority.

Most administrative agencies have little or no rule making authority (FBI, DOJ, BATF), these exercise purely executive power. Some have been given tightly constrained rule making authority.

A few, such as the EPA have been given fairly broad rule making authority. That can be come a problem.

"Again, the complexities of modern life that gave rise to the Los Angeles smog problem are well documented. The EPA and its regulations made my air healthier. I'd say that was being "reasonable"."

Yes, they were being reasonable back then. The stopped being reasonable some time around the mid 1990s. The problem is when their manager's salaries are determined by their budget and number of employees, how do you get them to recognize when it's time to stop? How do you get them to admit that while yes, continuing to enforce the existing rules is important, there is, as with all things, a point of diminishing returns where each new rule does more harm than good.

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