Finding the Appropriate Balance between Hard and Soft Management Principles: Filling the Gap to Resolve some Unsolved Management Problems

Abstract: This paper presents management theory in terms of “hard” and “soft” principles, and puts forward proposals for future management theory development. The purpose is to open up a discussion about the theoretical divide between these two streams of thinking. Within this context, the principles underlying management theory are discussed in terms of the present and the future, namely in relation to:

a) functional management: general management, HRM, leadership (with job engagement and management innovation); organisational structuresm,

b) improvements in future management theory (management theory innovation) and their possible application in actual planning, organisation, HRM, leadership and controlling.

The methodologies used were literature review, reflection and conceptualisation. The main findings revealed that in future, integrated management theory (which integrates “hard and soft” management principles) should show how to effectively manage to achieve techno-economic rationalisation (“hard” management), how to effectively manage to achieve psycho-social rationalisation (“soft” management), and finally how to find a good balance between both “hard and soft” in order to develop an organisational strategy and achieve a desired level of organisational stability. On this basis, a number of solutions are put forward for actual management problems (organisational hierarchy, organisational innovation and organisational discipline). The contribution this paper makes to the field is the insights it provides into management theory problems, which will act as guidelines for: researchers conducting future empirical research (testing concepts and principles); management theorists by offering them a framework within which to generate deeper discussions and new heuristics; practitioners/managers by offering them “good” theory which can be implemented at the organisational level; decision makers at both the social and societal levels by offering them the tools with which to humanise and de-alienate work through the application of the principles of “soft” management.

Authors: Mario Bogdanović
Keywords: Future of management, Integral management, Organisational structures, Organisation and management paradigm, Techno-economic rationalisation, Psycho-social rationalisation, Management innovation
Volume: 11
Issue: 1
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