Management Theory and History Pt. 3: Management Science

Management science

The management science school emerged to treat the problems associated with global warfare. Today, this view encourages managers to use mathematics, statistics, and other quantitative techniques to make management decisions.

Operations management

Operations management is a narrow branch of the quantitative approach to management. It focuses on managing the process of transforming materials, labor, and capital into useful goods and/or services. The product outputs can be either goods or services; effective operations management is a concern for both manufacturing and service organizations.

Operations management today pays close attention to the demands of quality, customer service, and competition. The process begins with attention to the needs of customers: What do they want? Where do they want it? When do they want it? Based on the answers to these questions, managers line up resources and take any action necessary to meet customer expectations.

Management information systems (MIS) is the most recent subfield of the quantitative school. A management information system organizes past, present, and projected data from both internal and external sources and processes it into usable information, which it then makes available to managers at all organizational levels. The information systems are also able to organize data into usable and accessible formats. As a result, managers can identify alternatives quickly, evaluate alternatives by using a spreadsheet program, pose a series of “what-if” questions, and finally, select the best alternatives based on the answers to these questions.

The systems management theory has had a significant effect on management science. A system is an interrelated set of elements functioning as a whole. An organization as a system is composed of four elements:

  • Inputs — material or human resources
  • Transformation processes — technological and managerial processes
  • Outputs — products or services
  • Feedback — reactions from the environment

In relationship to an organization, inputs include resources such as raw materials, money, technologies, and people. These inputs go through a transformation process where they’re planned, organized, motivated, and controlled to ultimately meet the organization’s goals. The outputs are the products or services designed to enhance the quality of life or productivity for customers/clients. Feedback includes comments from customers or clients using the products. This overall systems framework applies to any department or program in the overall organization.

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