W. Edward Deming influenced consistently the development of the management theory. Unlike supporters of scientific management and the needs theory of Maslow, Deming mainly focused on the concept of quality as one of the fundamental qualities of the management theory. Deming argued that effective management should aim at the improvement of the quality of products and services which can be achieved through the development of management approaches which meet expectations of employees and motivate them work better and more effectively. According to Deming, the knowledge management was particularly important because through sharing knowledge within organizations, the quality of products and services could be improved consistently (Gitlow, 1997). This is why Deming argued that it was important to train employees and expand their professional knowledge.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the development of management theories naturally led to the introduction of new methods and management principles. At the same time, new theories emerged in response to consistent changes in the management and production process as well as in principles of relationships between employers and employees. As a result, classical management theories, such as the theory of Scientific Management, which was supported by Taylor, Ford and Gilberth, have been replaced by new ones, such as the Needs theory by Abraham Maslow, which were more progressive and adapted to the new environment and conditions. On the other hand, it does not necessarily meant that traditional methods developed in terms of classical theories such as Scientific Management have been totally forgotten. In stark contrast, some elements of these theories persist.
In this respect, it should be said that Scientific Management was absolutely different from Abraham Maslow’s Needs theory. Frederick Taylor primarily focused on the needs of the organization, employers, while he viewed employees as tools, which employers could use to maximize the productivity. To meet this goal they needed to keep them trained and motivated. In contrast, Maslow focused on needs of employees to which employers were supposed to get adapted. In such a way, Maslow’s Needs theory was a shift from employer-centered management theory to employee-centered management theory. Basically, Abraham Maslow defined the basic human needs which he structured in his hierarchy, including such needs physical, safety, belongingness and love, esteem, and self-actualization. These needs identified by the researcher can help better understand the needs of employees. In such a way, managers can use this information to increase the effectiveness of their management applying methods and approaches that meet the needs of employees and, therefore, stimulate them work better, i.e. more efficiently and productively. In this respect, it is obvious that efficiency and productivity of employee’s performance is one of the major goals of any organizations and, at the same time, it is the most effective way to improve the performance of the entire organization and improve its competitive position. Deming views were more progressive compared to scientific management because he focused on the quality and knowledge which were crucial for the effective management and organizational performance.
On projecting both theories on the contemporary business environment, it is possible to estimate that Maslow’s Needs theory is more up-to-date, while Scientific Management can hardly be applied in its pure form in a modern organization. On the other hand, both management theories have their own drawbacks and substantial disadvantages. Consequently, neither theory is perfect. At the same time, theoretical developments of theorists discussed above still can be applied today, but it is important to apply only those elements of their theories which will work in the modern organization. In this respect, managers have to understand their employees as well as they should clearly understand tasks and goals their organizations have to meet. Only on such a condition, management can be truly efficient.