Business Management Theory and Philosophies Explained

Patrick Ward

What are the three management theories?

The three main classifications of management theory are Classical Management Theory (1900s), Behavioral Management Theory (1910s), and Modern Management Theory (1940s). Each of the three major management theories contains sub-theories, including notable schools of thought like Scientific Management, Human Relations, and Management Science.

Management theory underpins everything accomplished by western enterprises in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, from auto industrialization to the dot-com boom. 1 2

As such, management theory has been an active field since the late 1800s and is closely studied by MBAs and executives alike.

I’ve compiled the most prominent management theories, organized them by era, and summarized them in order to assist your studies. We’ll cover each of the three major management theories and the key figures behind each school of thought:

  • Classical Management Theories (Frederick Taylor, Henry Fayol)
  • Behavioral Management Theories (Elton Mayo, Douglas McGregor)
  • Modern Management Theories (Robert Kahn, Paul R. Lawrence)

What is management theory?

A management theory attempts to provide one or more ways to solve problems of “management.” “Management” can be defined as: 3

Determining a goal, planning and organizing around the goal, and leading and controlling efforts to ensure successful completion of the goal

How is management theory applied in the workplace?

When Henry Ford set 40–hour work-weeks, that was an example of applied management theory. The same could be said of Silicon Valley Unicorns flattening the corporate hierarchy to encourage innovation, or trendy e-commerce companies hitching their wagons to social causes to draw principled talent.

New isn’t syonomous with “better” in management theory; just look at Steve Jobs, who employed a famously autocratic style when the opposite leadership approach was in vogue. Apple had more in common with classical management theories of the 1800s than socially-driven ones popular with most Bay Area companies, but the results can’t be argued with.

In practice, most organizations employ a variety of strategies that match the efficiencies of each style with the recruiting and retention needs of their specific market. Additionally, many management theories established more than a century ago are still in use in Western corporations, such as the LPC and Contingency Theory for matching leaders and teams.

What is the history of management theory?

Historically in the West, many approaches to management and leadership were autocratic and dictatorial in nature.

In effect, the person in charge would bark orders and the people below them would be expected to follow.

In business, things began to change near the end of the 19th century. It was at this point that management theory began with an era often referred to as “Classical Management.” 4

In the following sections, we’ll take a look at the main eras in the development of management theory, including which business management theories came during each era, who was responsible for prominent theories, and the impacts of each era on modern workplaces.

Summary of the three core management theories

Classical management theories.

Two main theories were developed during the Classical Management era:

  • Scientific Management theory
  • Administrative Management theory

Scientific Management theory is primarily attributed to Frederick W. Taylor (1856-1915), an engineer who was known for his efforts to improve industrial efficiency. According to the theory of Scientific Management, the scientific method can be applied to production in order to increase efficiency and performance.

From his studies, Taylor created Four Principles of Scientific Management , which are as follows:

  • Gather objective data on work, experiment, and standardize policies and procedures;
  • Scientifically select, train, and develop workers;
  • Work cooperatively with workers; and
  • Fairly divide work and responsibilities and reward workers appropriately.

At approximately the same time as Taylor was developing Scientific Management, Administrative Management theory was also being developed.

Administrative Management theory is primarily attributed to two theorists:

  • Max Weber (1864-1920) , a German sociologist who made significant contributions to the areas of management, economics, and sociology. 5
  • Henri Fayol (1841-1925) , a French engineer and executive who is known as the father of Modern Management.

Unlike Scientific Management, which has a focus on lower-level supervision and management of production, Administrative Management has a focus on higher-level duties at the organizational level.

Thus, Administrative Management focuses on using organizational structure, management, and control in order to increase efficiency and performance.

One of Weber’s greatest contributions to management theory was his Theory of Bureaucracy . This theory states that a bureaucracy has the following characteristics: 6

  • Specialization;
  • Formalized rules;
  • Hierarchical structure;
  • Well-trained employees;
  • Managerial dedication; and
  • Impartiality of management.

Another notable contribution from Weber was his classification system of authority, which included the following types:

  • Traditional;
  • Charismatic; and
  • Rational-legal

One of Fayol’s greatest contributions to management theory was his 14 Principles of Management. These principles included:

  • Division of work;
  • Discipline;
  • Unity of command;
  • Unity of direction;
  • Subordination of individual interests to the general interests;
  • Remuneration;
  • Centralization;
  • Line of authority;
  • Stability of tenure of personnel;
  • Initiative; and
  • Esprit de corps

Fayol was also “credited with the original planning-organizing-leading-controlling framework” via his Five Functions of Management. These functions included:

  • Organizing;
  • Coordination; and

Behavioral Management Theories

The era of Behavioral Management began around the mid-1910s, marking a change in perspective from more structural and mechanistic to humanistic. The most notable names of this era include:

  • Elton Mayo (1880-1949) , an Australian psychologist who is known as the father of the Human Relations movement.
  • Douglas McGregor (1906-1964) , an American management professor who is known for his management and motivational theories.

In particular, Mayo is best known for his contributions to the Hawthorne Experiments, which looked to “inspire company loyalty, discourage high employee turnover and unionization, and present a good face to the public.” These studies led to numerous discoveries by Mayo, including that:

  • Workplace problems are caused by human and social factors;
  • Workplace policies and procedures influence workers’ attitudes; and
  • Motivation, productivity, and job satisfaction depend more on cooperation, involvement, and recognition than on physical working conditions.

McGregor is best known for his Theories X and Y, which detail two different management styles. The following chart compares and contrasts each of the two perspectives. 7 8

Modern Management Theories

Finally, we move to the modern era of management theories.

This era began approximately in the 1940s and primarily includes the following two approaches:

  • Management Science
  • The Organizational Environment

Management Science essentially came as an evolution of Frederick W. Taylor’s Scientific Management, took place during World War II, and has a focus on “using models and data to improve business performance.”

What may be seen as the most significant development in the field was George Dantzig’s simplex method for solving linear programming problems, which helps with management tasks like “allocating resources, scheduling production and workers, planning investment portfolios, and formulating marketing and military strategies.” 9

Other Management Science techniques include:

  • Nonlinear programming;
  • Network models;
  • Project scheduling;
  • Inventory and supply chain models;
  • Queuing models;
  • Simulation models;
  • Decision analysis;
  • Goal programming;
  • Forecasting; and

Organizational Environment , meanwhile, is based on two main theories:

  • The Theory of Open Systems
  • Contingency Theory

The Theory of Open Systems was theorized primarily by Robert Kahn (1938), an American electrical engineer, and Daniel Katz (1903-1998), an American psychologist.

The Theory of Open Systems states that an organization is always interacting with its environment through a three-step process such that inputs are received from the external environment, transformed through organizational processes, and then output back to the outside environment. In summary:

  • Receiving inputs from its external environment;
  • Processing and transforming inputs through internal organizational subsystems and processes; and
  • Sending outputs back to the outside environment

Considering this open system, the theory then states that management must respond to its external environment. First, management must determine and organize appropriate internal dimensions, capabilities, and structures. Then, they must optimally align these internal characteristics with the external domains in which they can compete and serve customers.

Contingency Theory can primarily be attributed to Paul R. Lawrence (1922-2011), an American sociologist, and Jay Lorsch (1932), an American organizational theorist. This theory states that a business’ organization is contingent upon the nature of the work and varying needs of the people. More specifically, it states that:

  • Businesses with consistent and predictable tasks should be organized with formalized procedures, classical management hierarchies, and directive supervision; while
  • Businesses with inconsistent and/or unpredictable tasks should be less defined and more flexible, allowing for greater participation by all of those who are involved.

Thus, by matching the organization to the task, the task to the people, and the people to the organization, everyone is made to feel competent and motivated to produce.

The impact of management theories today

It is easy to see how all of these management theories have impacted workplaces today.

For starters, Scientific Management’s focus on productivity was clearly an early step in the evolution of Total Quality Management (TQM) systems we see today and in the field of Management Science.

Second, Administrative Management led to numerous future developments, like Sociology and Management as fields of study, the organizational structures of today, and countless management styles. 10

Third, Behavioral Management led to greater human relations, Organizational Behavior and Organizational Psychology as fields of study, and is largely responsible for the improved working conditions, compensation, and benefits that employees now receive. 11

Fourth, Management Science continues to improve productivity and business performance in countless organizations by optimizing functions like scheduling, production, and distribution.

And finally, the Organizational Environment has contributed by helping businesses improve organizational structure, design, and competitiveness. So, it is without question that these management theories have had a dramatic impact on industry, society, and each of us as productive individuals.

Summary of management theory development over time

The following chart is a quick and simple summary of the three main eras of management theory, including the primary approaches and figureheads of each era:

While management theory has certainly evolved over time, the wide majority of past theories are still useful to this day. As a result, regardless of where you’re at in your personal and business development, knowledge of these management theories and philosophies will surely have an impact on your decisions as an owner or manager of a business.

  • The Open University . (2020). Discovering management .
  • The Wharton School . (2020). Management .
  • University of Minnesota . (2010). Sociology: Understanding and changing the social world .

D. S., & Cortes, A. H. (2019). Principles of management . OpenStax   ↩

Conerly, T. R., Holmes, K., & Tamang, A. L. (2021). Introduction to Sociology 3e . OpenStax.   ↩

Kelley School of Business. (2017). Practical management science, 6e .   ↩

London Business School. (2021). Management science and operations .   ↩

Weber, M. (1946). From Max Weber: Essays in sociology. Oxford University Press.   ↩

Reeves, M., Wesselink, E., & Whitaker, K. (2020). The end of bureaucracy, again?   ↩

MIT. (2021). Douglas M. McGregor .   ↩

Morse, J. J., & Lorsch, J. W. (1970). Beyond theory y .   ↩

Levy, D. (2005). George B. Dantzig, operations research professor, dies at 90 .   ↩

Katz, D. (1966). The social psychology of organizations .   ↩

Spielman, R. M., Jenkins, W. J., & Lovett, M. D. (2020). Psychology 2e . OpenStax.   ↩

Patrick Ward

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business management theory essay

The Management Theory of Max Weber

Table of contents.

business management theory essay

Max Weber, a German sociologist, argued that bureaucracy was the most efficient model for private businesses and public offices. His theories influenced generations of business leaders and politicians well into the 20th century. Weber’s theory of management, also called the bureaucratic theory, stresses strict rules and a firm distribution of power. 

The management theory of Max Weber

graphic of people with a bullseye and hourglass

Weber believed that bureaucracy was the most efficient way to set up and manage an organization and necessary for larger companies to achieve maximum productivity with many employees and tasks. 

“Precision, speed, unambiguity, knowledge of files, continuity, discretion, unity, strict subordination, reduction of friction and of material and personal costs — these are raised to the optimum point in the strictly bureaucratic administration,” Weber said. 

In an ideal bureaucracy, everyone is treated equally and work responsibilities are divided by each teams’ areas of expertise. A well-defined hierarchical business management system supports this, providing clear lines of communication and division of labor based on the layer of management one worked in. 

Advancement in the organization is determined solely on qualifications and achievements rather than personal connections. Weber believed the work environment should be professional and impersonal — “work relationships” are strongly discouraged. Overall, Weber’s ideal bureaucracy favors efficiency, uniformity and a clear distribution of power.

How Weber’s theory applies to SMBs

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can implement some of the emphasis on efficiency outlined in Weber’s theory, to the benefit of their company. One great example is that a bureaucracy can encourage impartiality and fairness. This tends to give employees peace of mind and faith in the fairness of the business, which can be helpful to morale.

Having clearly defined rules for your company, such as an employee handbook, can help protect the business and its employees. Doing so provides a single, easily referenced source for things like proper attire, company values and appropriate behavior toward fellow employees and customers.

Standard Operating Procedures is another document in alignment with Weber’s theory. This creates clear instructions, standards and best practices for job-related tasks performed by your employees. Having a set of rules in place, such as how equipment should be operated, can reduce workplace injuries. 

A clear division of labor and specialization removes confusion and prevents wasted time easily by defining the responsibility of each role within the business. It also allows employers to develop specific areas of expertise the business can use in the most effective roles.

Small businesses can benefit from creating documents that clarify the company hierarchy as well. Having a clear understanding of the power structure improves efficiency by providing employees with a centralized list of who to report to or contact for help depending on the situation. It also allows employees of the same level to feel equally responsible and empowered to perform their assigned tasks.

No matter what elements of Weber’s you choose to implement, be mindful of how you do so. There can be bureaucratic pitfalls, such as clouding company transparency, allowing fear of bureaucratic consequences to minimize freedom so your company appears backward-looking and having so much paperwork and extensive rules that the “red tape” reduces efficiency. Keep your goals in mind, make sure those priorities are clear, eliminate any unnecessary paperwork and empower and reward your employees . 

Another efficiency-emphasizing management theory by Frederick Taylor implements a reward system.

6 characteristics of bureaucracies identified by Weber

According to Weber, these are the six characteristics of bureaucracy:

  • Task specialization (division of labor): Weber felt that task specialization promotes the timely completion of work at the highest level of skill. Tasks, therefore, in Weber’s ideal organization are divided into categories based on team members’ competencies and areas of expertise. Employees and departments have defined roles and expectations in which they are responsible solely for the labor they do best. This is designed to maximize efficiency for the organization. Overstepping one’s responsibilities, such as presenting new ideas outside of your department’s scope, is generally frowned upon.
  • Hierarchical management structure: Weber advocated that management should be organized into layers, with each layer being responsible for its team’s performance. Weber believed that each layer of management should provide supervision to the layers below them while being subject to the control of those above them. Thus, individuals at the top of the management hierarchy have the most authority, while those at the bottom have the least power. This hierarchical structure delineates lines of communication, delegation and the division of responsibilities.
  • Formal selection rules: In the ideal organization, Weber believed that employees should be chosen based on their technical skills and competencies, which are acquired through education, experience or training — no other factors should be considered. Since workers are paid for their services and services are divided by job position, an employee’s salary is entirely dependent on their position. Contract terms are also entirely determined by the organization’s rules and regulations and employees have no ownership interest in a company.
  • Efficient and uniform requirements: Employees, argued Weber, should always know exactly what is expected of them. In the ideal organization, the rules are clearly defined and strictly enforced. This promotes uniformity within the organization and keeps the company running as smoothly and efficiently as possible. If new rules and requirements need to be introduced, higher-level management or directors are responsible for implementing and enforcing them.
  • Impersonal environment: Under Weber’s theory, relationships between employees are to be professional only. The impersonal environment characterized by bureaucracies is designed to promote decision-making that is based solely on facts and rational thinking. It prevents favoritism or nepotism as well as involvement from outsiders or political influence, anything that could interfere with the mission of the organization.
  • Achievement-based advancement: Weber felt that promotions within an organization should be based solely on achievement, experience and technical qualifications. Personal favors, relationships or personality traits should not factor into personnel decisions.

For a theory more focused on efficiency through reducing tasks and motions, explore Frank and Lillian Gilbreth’s management theory .

Other characteristics of the ideal bureaucracy

graphic of people in an office sharing ideas

Clearly defined job roles

Weber believed that responsibilities should be delegated based on skill and ability. There should be no flexible roles. Rather, employees should be aware of their position’s responsibilities and stick to them. Straying outside of their designated roles only disrupts the hierarchy of authority. Therefore, collaboration, creative thinking and idea pitching are also strongly discouraged. Also, workers should respect their supervisors and not overstep boundaries.

For a theory that integrates power between employees and managers, see Mary Parker Folett’s principles .

Meticulous record-keeping

According to Weber, leaders should take notes on every position, occurrence or concern that involves the company. That way, they can refer to it later and handle any issues accordingly. For instance, managers should record every responsibility of every role in the company so there are no misunderstandings. If an employee calls out sick or shows up late to a shift, their manager should keep tabs to ensure there are no negative patterns. 

Additionally, workers should track their hours and record their daily assignments and progress. Managers have the right to know how their employees are using (or abusing) their time.

Hiring based solely on specific qualifications

Weber advocated that only the most ideal candidates with the exact skill set required for the position should be hired to ensure the best results. There should be no nepotism or exceptions; only those individuals with the right skills and expertise who meet the high standards of the organization should be hired. If a person is not perfectly qualified, they are not a fit.

Work-appropriate relationships only

Weber did not condone any type of personal relationship in the workplace. He supported the notion that all work relationships are bound by rules and regulations. There should be no small talk, collaboration or sharing of ideas. Work is work, it isn’t a social outing. 

Sammi Caramela contributed to this article.


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The Theory of the Business

  • Peter F. Drucker

Not in a very long time—not, perhaps, since the late 1940s or early 1950s—have there been as many new major management techniques as there are today: downsizing, out-sourcing, total quality management, economic value analysis, benchmarking, reengineering. Each is a powerful tool. But, with the exceptions of outsourcing and reengineering, these tools are designed primarily to […]

Not in a very long time—not, perhaps, since the late 1940s or early 1950s—have there been as many new major management techniques as there are today: downsizing, out-sourcing, total quality management, economic value analysis, benchmarking, reengineering. Each is a powerful tool. But, with the exceptions of outsourcing and reengineering, these tools are designed primarily to do differently what is already being done. They are “how to do” tools.

business management theory essay

  • PD Peter F. Drucker (November 19, 1909 – November 11, 2005) was an Austrian-born American management consultant, educator, and author whose writings contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of the modern business corporation. He was also a leader in the development of management education, he invented the concept known as management by objectives, and he has been described as “the founder of modern management.”

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Mary Follett and Management Theory Essay


Management theory is the foundation of a successful business. Leaders and managers of any type of organization may learn from the tested and tried management concepts. There are four major areas involved in the management theories: the Elton Mayo’s Hawthorne Works experiment and human relations, Fredrick Taylor’s Scientific Management, Henry Fayol’s views on the administration and Max Weber’s idea of bureaucracy.

This literature review is about the management theory. It aims at discussing Follett’s concepts and ideas. The paper will discuss these concepts and perform an evaluation of the relevance of the values and the performance of managers in the 21 st century. It will also present the observations about the environment where the theories can be applied and the success that can be achieved as a result (Jones, 2011).

Mary Parker Follett, a prophet of management, argues in her theory of management that she is actually a “bridge of the troubled management waters”. She asserts that whether management is viewed from the governmental policy concept or just from the corporate American concept, it is still in disarray. The concepts, principles and theories as well as the research driven by the practitioners and the empirical researchers have settled in a new impasse.

Other theorists concur with Follett in admitting that management has been of assistance in the process of nurturing questionable concepts, dysfunctional theories and the challenging real world practices in business. Follett suggests that the art of management cannot be examined empirically.

The art of administration and the art of leadership were genuinely understood by Mary Follett. This is from the fact that she avoided the relentless empiricism that is continually unfolding today and at the same time approached her studies with a scientific eye (Ghoshal, 2005).

Follett in her management theory seems very right as an administrative and organizational scholar who has the idea of the limits in conveying the endless amount of existing data. Follett asserts that even if the amount of data collected is as much as possible and analyzed as well as possible, still most of the phenomena she comprehends would still remain scarcely illuminated and revealed.

However, even in the current troubled public policies, Follett still seem to have insight and advice for the government and the concerned parties in the management. Follett advocates for human relations and put equal emphasis on the operational and mechanical emphasis in the management concept.

Her work somehow contrasted with that of Fredrick Taylor, Scientific management. In her management concept, she stressed on the interactions and relationships that exists between the managers and the workers. She has a holistic look at the concept of leadership and management and presages the modern systems of approaches.

Follett identifies a leader as that person who is able to see a whole rather than a particular. Today she still remains one of the first few theorists who integrated the organizational conflict idea and concept into a management theory (Follett, 1925). Hence she is considered the “mother of conflict resolution”

In the 21 st Century, managers are very relevant and valuable in any organization. They determine what goes around the organization and the activities within the environment. Whether an organization ends up making profits or losses, it is the responsibility of the manager and he or she is usually held accountable.

The evidence of the relevance of managers is in the conflict that arises from the internal monitoring of the organizational events that may lead to either a positive abnormal returns or negative abnormal returns. The hypotheses that arises from this are that either a positive real effect resulting from anticipated resignation of a poorly performing manager or a negative effect of the information in case the change alerts worse management performance than what was initially anticipated.

The role of manager is not just to exercise power. According to Follett, she coined power into two; power over and power with. She did this to differentiate participative decision making from the coercive power. Power with has greater returns that power over. She continues and says that genuine power is that which will always inheres in any given situation (Follett, 1924).

In summary, this literature review was about the management theory specifically the concepts of Mary Follett. The paper has described the background of the management theory and stated the theorists that originally came up with the ideas about management. Follett as a management theorist has been focused on and her concepts elaborated in this paper. The paper has also discussed the relevance of the values and the performance of managers in the 21 st century.

It is evident from the paper that management is not just exercising power over the workers but inclusive and participatory decision making (Pfeffer, 2005). From the literature review, we learn that Mary Follett made an assertion that even if management is looked at from the governmental policy concept or just from the corporate American concept, it still remains in disarray.

The concepts, principles and theories as well as the research driven by the practitioners and the empirical researches have settled in a new impasse. Hence Follett is the mother of conflict “resolution.”


Follett, M. 1924. Creative Experience . New York: Longmans, Green and Co.

Follett, M. P. 1945. Dynamic Administration. New York: Longmans, Green and Co.

Ghoshal, S. 2005.Bad Management Theories Are Destroying Good Management: Practices. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 4 , 75–91.

Jones, W. 2011. Contemporary Management. London: Prentice Hall

Pfeffer, J. 2005. Why Do Bad Management Theories Persist: A Comment on Ghoshal. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 4 , 96–100.

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IvyPanda. (2022, April 13). Mary Follett and Management Theory.

"Mary Follett and Management Theory." IvyPanda , 13 Apr. 2022,

IvyPanda . (2022) 'Mary Follett and Management Theory'. 13 April.

IvyPanda . 2022. "Mary Follett and Management Theory." April 13, 2022.

1. IvyPanda . "Mary Follett and Management Theory." April 13, 2022.

IvyPanda . "Mary Follett and Management Theory." April 13, 2022.

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  • Fredrick Douglas Characters. Impact of Slavery
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business management theory essay

Everything you need to know about IB Business Management Extended Essay

  • January 27, 2023
  • IB Extended Essay (EE)

Everything you need to know about IB Business Management Extended Essay

Table of Contents

  • 1 Business Management Extended Essay
  • 2 Formulating an Extended Essay Title and Research Question
  • 3.1 1) Choose a topic which interested and engages you 
  • 3.2 2) Understand the EE requirements 
  • 3.3 3) Create a research question and write an outline 
  • 3.4 4) “Choosing” a supervisor 
  • 3.5 5) The EE is not an Internal Assessment 
  • 3.6 6) Achieving the A grade
  • 3.7 7) Analyse and Evaluate 
  • 3.8 8) Meet deadlines 
  • 3.9 9) Presentation and Referencing 
  • 3.10 10) Reflect, Reflect, Reflect 
  • 4.1 The following are not included in the word limit: 
  • 4.2 The following style of presentation: 
  • 4.3 Cover Page should contain the following information: 
  • 4.4 Grade Boundaries:
  • 4.5 Assessment Criteria:
  • 4.6 Criterion A – Focus and Method 
  • 4.7 Criterion B – Knowledge and Understanding 
  • 4.8 Criterion C – Critical Thinking 
  • 4.9 Criterion D – Formal Presentation 
  • 4.10 Criterion E – Engagement
  • 5 Tools, Techniques and Theories for the Extended Essay 
  • 6 Tools, Techniques and Theories beyond the IB BM Syllabus 
  • 7 Research Question Examples – 

Business Management Extended Essay

The Extended Essay is a core element of the IB Diploma Programme . It provides students with an opportunity to carry out in-depth research in an area of personal interest. It required around 40 hours of work by the student. The formal requirements of the Extended Essay, such as the formulation of an appropriate research question, writing the essay within the 4,000 word limit, and including proper citation and referencing throughout the essay. 500 words for the RPPF (Reflections on Planning and Progress Form). There are three compulsory reflection sessions, ending with a viva voce. The business management extended essay must be firmly based on accepted Business Management theory. It required application of theory, tools and techniques to produce a coherent and structured essay. It involves broad and detailed research using a range of secondary sources. 

Formulating an Extended Essay Title and Research Question

All extended essays require both a title and a research question. The title should be a clear and focused summative statement that provides the reader with an indication of the research topic. The research question must be phrased as a probing question, i.e. one that demands inquiry and is worthy of investigation. The research question should allow students to show and use a variety of analytical tools, theories and techniques. This is often supported by statistical data to assist discussion and evaluation. 

When selecting your topic and research question, keep the following in mind: 

  • Choose a subject and topic that interests you 
  • Construct a research question that is worth of study and has academic rigour 
  • Ensure there are sufficient secondary resources and materials to address the research question. 
  • Ensure the topic is neither too narrow nor too broad 

Tips for writing Business Management Extended Essay 

1) choose a topic which interested and engages you  .

Read the BM syllabus and identify those areas which interest you most. For example, consider how your interests or hobbies in real life can be linked to business management. Read about the topic area and try to find relevant information to support your work. 

2) Understand the EE requirements  

There are four important documents you need to read before starting your extended essay – The general assessment criteria, subject specific assessment criteria, examiner report, and an example of an excellent A graded business management extended essay. As this will show clearly what needs to be done to score high. 

3) Create a research question and write an outline  

The research question can be forward looking. Your outline, of around 400 words in length, should include the possible research question. Explain why you are interested in this topic and why it is important to study as a BM student. 

4) “Choosing” a supervisor 

The supervisor will be someone who teaches you. By preparing a concise outline and having a reasonable understanding of the EE will encourage the supervisor that your EE journey will be successful. The supervisor can help focus the research question more clearly if need be. All students need to impress supervisors that they will work diligently to undertake background reading on relevant theories and will be fully committed to the EE process.

5) The EE is not an Internal Assessment 

The Higher Level Business Management IA is based on primary research. An A grade for the Extended Essay in Business Management can be awarded without doing any primary research. Both IA and EE should include tools with appropriate explanation of the content or their significance. 

As the EE is an academic piece of work, the examiner will positively mark those who go beyond what is on the syllabus, such as Porter’s Five Forces or Blue Ocean Strategy. Another approach by astute students is to relate their essay through all the CUEGIS concepts. The EE research question for most students should require analysis and evaluation of a strategic issue for an organisation which can be linked  to these key concepts. 

6) Achieving the A grade

The EE requires a lot of background reading as its success depends on secondary research.  Schools will provide students with a sufficient time frame to conduct the necessary reading of academic journals and sources. Start reading as soon as your supervisor has agreed to the research question. Identify possible secondary sources which provide balance.

The role of the school librarian is especially important as they show students how to use online databases, how to cite and reference appropriately. Do not rely on the Internet for all your sources. 

7) Analyse and Evaluate  

Assessment Criterion C is titled “Critical Thinking” and is marked out of 12. Many students tend to describe rather than analyse and evaluate. To show evidence of critical thinking, students should use phrases like “In the short (or long) term…” and “the most significant factor is… because…”. This enables you to prioritise issues which you think are most important in addressing the research question. For all essays, the arguments should be balanced (for and against) and allow the research question to be answered at the end in a considered way.

8) Meet deadlines  

Schools create deadlines for students’ own good! Although the EE takes about 6 to 8 months to complete, by the time students identify a question and do the final reflection (viva voce), this process could be closer to one year. Students should set aside time between deadlines so they can clearly think through what needs to be completed and then progress with the writing process.

Use the summer holidays wisely. Students may get up to 2 months break. Dedicate time spread over several weeks to re-read your EE and to make edits. This will help you to make steady progress and meet the EE deadlines in the following academic year.

9) Presentation and Referencing 

Too often, the issue is not the quality of the content of the essay, but marks are lost because of poor presentation and referencing. Assessment Criteria D (Presentation) is worth 4 marks. 

The six required elements of the EE: 

Title Page 

  • Title of the essay 
  • Research Question 
  • Subject (i.e. Business Management) 
  • Word Count 
  • Candidate Code 
  • Contents Page 
  • Introduction 

Body of the essay 

  • Conclusion 

References and Bibliography

Format for the EE includes: 

  • Size 12 font, Arial or Times New Roman recommended 
  • Double Spacing 
  • Page numbering 
  • File size no larger than 10MB

The Word Count includes: 

  • Quotations 

Clearly reference using a recognized system, such as APA or MLA.  As the EE is based on secondary research, ensure you cite and referencing throughout the essay.If you use diagrams, ensure these are labelled clearly and make sure you explain them in the context of your research question. 

10) Reflect, Reflect, Reflect 

Reflections are worth 6 marks. There are three formal reflection sessions held between the EE supervisor and students:

  • The first reflection happens during the beginning stages of the EE, where the student describes how they will approach the essay (methodology) and possible concerns.
  • The interim reflection is analytical and happens around the middle of the EE process. Students comment on what they are doing well, where they are struggling and how they will address problems.
  • The final reflection, called the viva voce, is evaluative and takes place after the EE is completed. Students comment on the success of the essay and their learning journey.

In the reflection, give specific examples about the EE, rather than writing generally. Write about the focus of the research question in the first reflection, not your interest in BM or desire to use the EE as a pathway to studying BM at university. The total length of the three reflections is 500 words; the examiner will not read beyond this point.  Each of the three reflections should be around 160 words, perhaps a little more for the final reflection.

Note the following Key Points while writing the Extended Essay – 

The following are not included in the word limit: .

  • Acknowledgements 
  • Charts, Diagrams, Annotated Illustrations 
  • Tables (of data, but not text or analysis) 
  • Calculations, Equations or Formulae 
  • References, Citations, Bibliography 
  • Footnotes or Endnotes 
  • Appendices 

business management theory essay

The following style of presentation: 

  • Font Style – Times New Roman or Arial 
  • Font Size – 12 
  • Line Spacing – Double
  • Numbered Pages 

Cover Page should contain the following information: 

  • Subject – Business Management Extended Essay
  • Session – May 2023

Grade Boundaries:

Assessment criteria:, criterion a – focus and method .

The research question is clearly stated and focused.

  • The research question is clear and addresses an issue of research that is appropriately connected to the discussion in the essay.

The methodology of the research is complete.

  • An appropriate range of relevant source(s) and/or method(s) has been selected in relation to the topic and research question.
  • There is evidence of effective and informed selection of sources and/or methods.

Criterion B – Knowledge and Understanding 

Knowledge and understanding are excellent.

  • The application of source materials is clearly relevant and appropriate to the research question.
  • Knowledge of the topic/discipline(s)/issue is clear and coherent and sources are used effectively and with understanding.

Use of terminology and concepts is good.

  • The use of subject-specific terminology and concepts is accurate and consistent, demonstrating effective knowledge and understanding.

Criterion C – Critical Thinking 

The research is excellent.

  • The research is appropriate to the research question and its application to support the argument is consistently relevant.

Analysis is excellent.

  • The research is analysed effectively and clearly focused on the research question; the inclusion of less relevant research does not significantly detract from the quality of the overall analysis.
  • Conclusions to individual points of analysis are effectively supported by the evidence.

Discussion / evaluation is excellent.

  • An effective and focused reasoned argument is developed from the research with a conclusion reflective of the evidence presented.
  • This reasoned argument is well structured and coherent; any minor inconsistencies do not hinder the strength of the overall argument or the final or summative conclusion.
  • The research has been critically evaluated.

Criterion D – Formal Presentation 

Presentation is good.

  • The structure of the essay clearly is appropriate in terms of the expected conventions for the topic, the argument and subject in which the essay is registered.
  • Layout considerations are present and applied correctly.
  • The structure and layout support the reading, understanding and evaluation of the extended essay.

Criterion E – Engagement

Engagement is excellent.

  • Reflections on decision-making and planning are evaluative and include reference to the student’s capacity to consider actions and ideas in response to challenges experienced in the research process.
  • These reflections communicate a high degree of intellectual and personal engagement with the research focus and process of research, demonstrating authenticity, intellectual initiative and / or creative approach in the student voice.

The Extended Essay incorporates all five ATL skills, which are essential at various stages of completing the EE. 

  • Students should work closely with their supervisor, thus developing their own communication skills when discussing their ideas and reflections.
  • This also provides students with opportunities to develop valuable social skills.
  • The student’s self-management skills are needed to conduct the research and to complete the essay in an academic and independent way.
  • To succeed in the EE, students must demonstrate their ability to think critically about the research, methodology, findings, and conclusions.
  • The EE require students to carry out extensive secondary research, including the use of primary research where appropriate

Students have opportunities to demonstrate their level of engagement with the EE process. These ATL skills are life-long skills that students will use and develop well beyond the IB Diploma Programme.

Tools, Techniques and Theories for the Extended Essay 

  • 1.3 – Ansoff Matrix 
  • 1.3 – SWOT Analysis 
  • 1.4 – Stakeholders analysis
  • 1.5 – STEEPLE analysis
  • 1.7 – Decision Tree 
  • 1.7 – Fishbone Diagram 
  • 1.7 – Force Field Analysis 
  • 1.7 – Gantt Chart 
  • 2.4 – Motivation  
  • 2.5 – Organisational culture
  • 3.3 – Break-even Analysis 
  • 3.4 – Final Accounts 
  • 3.5 – Profitability and Liquidity Ratio Analysis 
  • 3.6 – Efficiency Ratio Analysis
  •  3.7 – Cash Flow Forecasts 
  • 3.8 – Investment Appraisal 
  • 3.9 – Budgets
  • 4.2 – Position Maps 
  • 4.3 – Sales Forecasting 
  • 4.5 – BCG Matrix 
  • 5.1 – The Triple Bottom Line 
  • 5.5 – Cost to Make vs. Cost to Buy 
  • 5.6 – Research and Development 

Tools, Techniques and Theories beyond the IB BM Syllabus 

  • Blue Ocean Strategy 
  • Porter’s Five Forces Analysis 
  • Strategic Drift Theory 
  • Porter’s Generic Strategies 
  • Thomas-Kilmann’s Conflict Instrument 
  • Kotter and Schlesinger’s Change Management model 
  • Greiner’s Growth Model 
  • Bowman’s Strategic Clock 
  • Charles Handy 

Research Question Examples – 

  • Which promotional strategy has proved most effective in enabling Tata Coffee to gain market share in Mumbai in the past three years?
  • To what extent has the product extension strategy of Apple for its Apple TV service helped the company to remain competitive in Hong Kong?
  • How effective has McDonald’s franchise growth strategy been in improving its market share in Malaga, southern Spain?
  • To what extent has Starbucks’ use of social media marketing (SMM) increased its brand awareness in Singapore?
  • To what extent has Amazon’s acquisition of contributed to its growth in Saudi Arabia?
  • To what extent has McDonald’s Ronald McDonald House Charities philanthropy programme motivated the company’s workforce in Chicago, Illinois?
  • To what extent has Nike’s above the line marketing strategies contributed to the company’s overall profitability?
  • To what extent is Ryanair’s corporate success in the European low-cost airline industry attributed to its “no-frills” pricing strategy?

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business management theory essay

Business Management essay

Business management is essential for me because I have a great desire to successfully manage people and business projects, as well as to develop effective business-related policies.  I want to major in business in order to pursue my Bachelor’s Degree and become a true professional in business management. The reason that I am applying for the scholarship is that it will help me to pay for my academic tuition, academic resources (books, programs, etc.) and spend much more time on my studies.

Today I have to work full time in order to advance myself with a degree in business management. I am currently pursuing my Associate’s Degree, but I am not going to stop my education. To become a true professional in business management, it is necessary to learn more about the key business strategies that will help to enhance management practices and develop the proper skills and abilities. I am going forward to achieve my Bachelor’s Degree.

I am currently pursuing a career course that will help me to advance my leadership and management skills and have the opportunity to work in an advanced management field.  My specific academic goals contribute to my professional growth. Some of my academic goals include:

  • To develop effective leadership and management skills in order to apply these skills in practice;
  • To improve my academic performance in order to become more professional in decision making and goal setting practices;
  • To develop good technical skills in order to apply new technologies in business practices;
  • To learn more about business management strategies that could be applied in practice;
  • To learn how to identify and successfully resolve various organizational and business problems;
  • To develop my communication skills that are necessary in achieving strategic goals;
  • To learn more about strategic planning in business;
  • To use my skills and abilities to continue maintaining a “B” average;
  • To do everything possible to keep satisfactory attendance.

My career plans depend on my academic achievements and work experience. I know that business management is not an easy field to work in.  I will be focused on my professional development. My work experience involves dealing with conflicts within management, problem solving, decision making, critical thinking, discrimination, as well as personal development. I have been well trained to deal with standard operating procedures and implementation of such standards, to satisfy the Department of Defense and be in compliance with the established laws and regulations of our Federal Government.

In addition, I will do my best to develop professional skills in business management practices that will help me to make good management decisions in my future career. To be a good manager, it is very important to develop not only effective interpersonal communication skills, but also good intuition, which helps to make effective management decisions.  I need general knowledge in HR management, finance and accounting operations. I know that Bachelor’s programs in this field are effective in achieving the established academic goals. The greatest pleasure for me would be to pass exams successfully. I believe that my personal skills and abilities will be useful in achieving my academic goals. I am self-confident, hard-working and persistent. I know that to become a good manager I should study hard. I know that a good manager should be competent in three key areas: managing people; managing and developing processes and policies; and managing and developing oneself. I believe that my Bachelor’s program in business management will help me to develop the proper skills to become competent in the above mentioned areas. Today I pay due attention to my personal development. I successfully deal with stresses and conflicts. A good manager should know how to avoid stressful situations which may lead to conflicts in the workplace. Besides, I use my creativity in decision making process to demonstrate the best traits of my character. Innovative ideas in business management provide massive opportunities for successful implementation of the established strategic goals.

Thus, it is necessary to conclude that my specific academic goals and career plans will motivate me to study hard. I know that to become a professional in business management, it is necessary to never give up and be quick about solving any problem or overcoming any barrier.  I realize that my academic and career goals are the essential goals I should achieve in the nearest future. Achieving these goals will help to succeed in the realization of my personal potential in profession and career. Business management practices guarantee professional success if a manager is goal-oriented and creative. One of my great desires is to pursue my Bachelor’s Degree in order to become a true professional in business management. I believe that I will be able to apply my best skills and abilities to succeed in academic performance and become a well-trained specialist. My work experience will help me to be confident in everything I need to do to attain my academic goals and career plans.

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