The aim of this paper is to scrutinise whether management in a large organisation is the same as one of a small organisation. It shall be argued that management in any size establishment is a multifaceted topic that cannot entirely be restricted due to constant development and alteration. However, many overpowering influences cause modifications to occur in companies, leading to either an effective and/or efficient approach in the way management operates.

In any case management is imperative to any business ensuring that the organisation has a systematic way of handling distinguished goals and staff while maintaining a strong and stable structure.

Management in Both Large and Small Organisations

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Three major features of an organisation are purpose, people, and structure. Purpose is concerned with and is often expressed as the organisational goals that have been destined to be reached within the company. People refer to the staff employed by that organisation, who work together to achieve the goals that are set whereas, structure refers to the arrangement of the organisational rules and regulations, either being open and flexible or traditional. The term organisation refers to an entity that has a distinct purpose, which includes people or members and has some type of deliberate structure. (Robbins et al. 2006, p.6)

Many organisations, whether large, medium, or small continually delve for good managers who are able to strike success effectively or efficiently. Many gather this can be achieved by using Henri Fayol’s (1949) POC3 method which includes planning, organising, commanding, coordinating, and controlling. These methods have been widely used, especially planning, organising, commanding, and controlling, and referred to, over the years through many books, until questioning began by other writers. Mintzberg, a particular writer who had questioned Fayol’s work believed that these elements are ‘Folklore’ and are no longer needed these days (Carroll & Gillen, 1987, p.38).

According to Fayol (1849-1925) managers need to plan in advance, which will help them define goals, institute a strategy, and develop plans to coordinate activities. Second, it is very important to be organised by deciding what needs to be achieved, who needs to achieve it, how to group these tasks, and which staff need to refer to which department or manager who will handle decisions to be made in that area. Managers should also command (lead) their staff in the right direction. This also includes employing or deploying, training, promoting or demoting members of staff, taking into account, individual needs, strengths, and weaknesses that every individual carries. Another important role of manager is directing, supervising, and motivating the employees with an intention of bringing out their best possible qualities. This in return will help achieve the goals that have been planned with a high performance from the staff members.

Henry Mintzberg, a prominent management researcher, studied actual managers at work. He says that what managers do can best be described by looking at the roles they play at work. His studies allowed him to conclude that managers perform ten different but highly interrelated roles. Mintzbergs’s ten managerial roles can be categorised into three subheadings which are interpersonal roles, informational roles, and decisional roles. Interpersonal roles are duties that are required to be performed by managers which involve people, are formal, and symbolic in nature. Informational roles are what managers perform to a certain degree, such as receiving, collecting, and disseminating information. Decisional roles were divided into four parts which helped in making decisions. First, as entrepreneurs managers can initiate and oversee new projects that can help the organisation’s performance. As disturbance handlers, managers can take the correct action in response to unforseen problems and by being resource allocators, mangers are responsible for allocating human, physical, and monetary resources (Robbins et al. 2006, pp.11-13).

Systematized efforts have existed for thousands of years, for example the Egyptian pyramids which took more than a hundred thousand workers to build in twenty years. At that time no one could have organised such incredible structures to be completed, other than managers. Regardless if they were called managers or not, back then someone had to plan, organise, lead, and control what work was being done. A numerous number of management theories have been introduced into the world since that time and are being utilised in the present modern organisation. Currently there are six major management theories that are being practiced in both small and large businesses. They are scientific management, general administrative theory, quantitative approach, organisational behaviour, systems approach, and the contingency approach (Robbins et al. 2006, p.43).

Scientific management was introduced by Frederick W. Taylor in 1911 and further enrichments were added by Frank and Lillian Gilbreth in 1912. They found that by separating jobs into sections and having someone who knew the job to motivate the employees, by offering an attractive monetary incentive, inspired the workers to increase their production efficiency to meet goals that have been set faster. A majority of businesses, large or small, use the scientific management approach as it encourages workers to push for a higher production rate, achieving targets quicker, and in return increasing their incentive (Robbins et al. 2006, pp.45-46).

General administrative theorists, such as Henri Fayol (1849-1925) and Max Weber (1864-1920) set out guidelines to be used throughout companies which would enhance management in the organisations overall operations. Fayol introduced fourteen principles while Weber introduced an ideal organisation called a bureaucracy (Robbins et al. 2006, pp.48-49). The guidelines which have been set would most probably be used in depth throughout a larger organisation rather than a smaller one who would not require such detailed directions.

The quantitative approach was originally introduced to solve any problems in the military during World War II, and was later applied to the business sector. It developed from mathematical and statistical research which enables management to use these methods to reduce situations to a series of variables which are analysed rationally. This approach has contributed directly to management decision making in the areas of planning and controlling. However, many managers find this approach intimidating as they are not so familiar with this tool and would prefer to handle real day-to-day situations by relating to them rather than a tool calculating the problem (Robbins et al. 2006, pp.50-51).

Earlier days recognised the importance of the human factor in an organisation. However Robert Owen, Hugo Munsterberg, Mary P. Follett, and Chester Barnard stand out in the contributions to organisational behaviour. Appreciating human factor in an organisation will lead to success in most cases. The foremost idea of this theory is to understand that all individuals have their own special needs (Robbins et al. 2006, p.51). By taking the time to understand people such as understanding their background, present and future behaviour can be predicted. Many individuals’ backgrounds have provided them with a certain culture. Whether a manager is managing one person or a thousand people it is eminently important that the manager adjusts and comprehends individual needs such as nationality, religion, gender, age, and general differences (Hofstede 1995, p.150).

The systems approach is a set of interrelated and interdependent parts arranged in a manner that produces a unified whole. Two basic forms of systems are closed and open. A closed system does not get influenced by or interact with the environment whereas the open system dynamically correlates with the environment. The systems approach acknowledges that businesses are not self-sustaining and rely on necessary environmental inputs and as sources to absorb outputs. For instance organisations will not be able to outlast by ignoring government regulations, supplier relations, or varied external clientele on which it depends. Using the system approach in any size company is pertinent in managing an organisation on a daily basis to enable goals to be reached (Robbins et al. 2006, pp.54-56).

A contingency approach refers to the diverse changes that happen within an organisation. There are many variables that happen from business to business or even within the business structure itself. Some common contingency variables are individual differences, environmental uncertainty, routine task technologies, and organisation size. For example if a building structure is comfortable for ten employees it would not accommodate five hundred employees if the company rapidly grew in size. This rule puts pressure on the fact that there is no simplistic or universal rules for managers to follow, either it be small, medium, or a large company (Robbins et al. 2006, p.56).

Management at any level make judgments in either a company that employs five people or five thousand people. They will still be required to outline tactics, lead, control, organise, motivate, and correspond with their staff as a responsibility that they have committed to in producing efficient and effective work from their employees. There has been evidence that planning is important at the lowest management level as well as the top (Carroll ; Gillen, 1987, p.42). There are many formularisations that a manager can choose from in any size organisation, yet the only variance between a manager of a small company and one of a large company is in the quantity of the workload not the managerial function itself (Robbins et al. 2006, pp.20-21). Fayol’s methods may seem ‘Folklore’ to some organisations or writers these days, however they are the substructure for conceptualizing the manager’s dexterity and occupation. Unifying these approaches with new means such as Mintzberg’s methods could help management in any size organisation to succeed, if they are executed in a corrective manner.

It is the human factor, not technology, that makes the difference between commercial success and failure, and between acceptance and rejection of a system. Hence the true asset of a company is its educated employees; the real strategic resource essential for commercial growth and the real stuff of competitive advantage. Finding out whom the ‘best’ people are, how to attract them, how to train them, how to employ them, how to motivate them and, just as importantly, how to keep them, requires major investment by forward-looking organisations (Angell & Smithson, cited in El-Imad 2001, pp.106-107).

Management will always serve the same purpose in any size business which is fundamentally to manage, however the time they spend on each method, if any, will vary from manager to manager not organisation to organisation.


Angell, I.O. & Smithson, S. (1989), ‘Managing Information Technology: A crisis of confidence’, in J. El-Imad (ed), Strategies of efficient and effective management of technology in business, Tihama Publishing & Distribution, Jeddah, pp.106-107.

Carroll, S.J. & Gillen, D.J. (1987), ‘Are the Classical Management Functions Useful in Describing Managerial Work?’, Academy of Management Review, vol. 12, no. 9, pp. 38-42.

Hofstede, G. (1995), ‘Managerial values: The business of international business is culture’, in T Jackson (ed.), Cross-Cultural Management, Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, United Kingdom, p.150.

Robbins, S., Bergman, R., Stagg, I. & Coulter, M. (2006), Management, Prentice Hall 4th edn, Frenchs Forest.


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