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22 Approaches to Management

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Management approaches are techniques that are used to direct and control an organization. These may be adopted by an organization or an individual manager as an element of their style. The following are common examples of management approaches.


The process of developing and communicating a strategy, mission, vision and set of objectives and goals to your team.


The implementation of internal controls such as processes, systems and procedures.

Managing Expectations

Managing expectations is a fundamental management approach that involves carefully communicating to stakeholders what your team will deliver and what is out of scope.

Setting Expectations

Setting expectations is the process of communicating to employees what is expected of them at a level of detail that is appropriate to the task and their abilities.

Command and Control

The use of authority and a hierarchical chain of command as a means of controlling an organization.


Supervision is the idea that employees have to be literally watched by a manager. Associated with low skill positions where employee turnover may be high and trust between employer and employee is low.

Scientific Management

Scientific management is the use of measurement and internal controls. For example, measuring the outcomes of work to determine if a team is fulfilling its function according to a performance management process.

Management Accounting

Management accounting is the measurement of anything that management needs to know. This may be used in conjunction with scientific management or any other style of management.

Classical Approach

An academic term for the historical dominance of command and control and scientific management.

Contingency Approach

The idea that there is no correct way to manage an organization but rather that you need to adapt different approaches depending on the situation. For example, one team may benefit from a laissez-faire approach and another team may require a command and control structure.

Organizing Principle

The adoption of organizing principles that serve to provide consistent and efficient decision making that optimize for goals. For example, a luxury hotel that adopts a principle of customer is always right to set the clear expectation that staff afford customers respect.

Management by Walking Around

Management by walking around is the principle that high level managers understand the jobs of everyone under them and that they be fully engaged with operational realities at every level of their team.

Change Management

Change management is based around the idea that organizations commonly resist change and defend the status quo. It is a leadership practice that involves communicating to sell change, sidelining resistance and transferring authority and rewards to agents of change.

Catfish Management

Catfish management is the practice of positioning your team so that they are in competition with each other. For example, a CEO who appoints a CTO and CIO who have overlapping responsibilities and must compete for budget and authority.

Petty Authority

Petty authority is the use of authority to enjoy a sense of personal power as opposed to using it to achieve objectives on behalf of your organization. For example, using authority to penalize those who you don't like and reward friends.

Management by Design

The use of design thinking to achieve management objectives. For example, a manager who designs a checklist that can be used to reduce maintenance errors.

Management by Objectives

The practice of setting goals with each member of a team and then evaluating performance against those goals on a regular basis.


Managing by influencing people as opposed to attempting to control them with your authority, processes and measurements. Leadership is commonly expected in modern organizations, particularly in teams that produce knowledge work.

Participative Leadership

An attempt to involve everyone in decision making. Often results in suboptimal strategy such as the abilene paradox but is often the only way to get people to buy-in to a strategy.

Laissez-faire Leadership

The practice of giving your team a loosely defined mission and allowing them to have freedom to deliver as they see fit.

Management by Exception

Management by exception is the practice of giving your team freedom but quickly stepping in to manage issues that arise.

Behavioral Approach

Leadership approaches that seek motivation, engagement and employee satisfaction over simply attempting to control behavior with processes, rules and measurements.


Management approaches are the philosophy, structures and methods that a management team use to direct an organization. This includes the idea of contingency management whereby management approach is adapted to each project, team or individual.
Next: Management Process
More about management:
Action Plan
Asset Management
Budget Planning
Business Management
Business Models
Business Operations
Capability Analysis
Catfish Management
Change Management Metrics
Change Strategy
Contingency Planning
Cost Benefit Analysis
Creative Direction
Decision Making
Employee Relations
Executive Management
Feasibility Study
Financial Controls
Gap Analysis
Goal Setting
Heliotropic Effect
Human Resources
Internal Customers
IT Management
Lessons Learned
Management Accounting
Management Analysis
Management Design
Management Functions
Management Goals
Management Improvement
Management Plan
Management Process
Management Tasks
Market Analysis
Mission & Vision
Nudge Theory
Operating Model
Operations Analysis
Org Structure
Organizing Principle
Performance Issue
Performance Management
Quality Assurance
Quality Control
Quality Management
Scenario Planning
Service Management
SLA Management
Team Culture
Team Management
Team Objectives
Walking Around
Work Quality
Workplace Privacy
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