Management History Essay example

10128 Words Jul 2nd, 2006 41 Pages
HISTORY OF MANAGEMENT THOUGHT AND ITS LEGACY

FOR TODAY'S WORLD

by

J. David Hunger, Ph.D.

for

Management 370

College of Business

Iowa State University

(8/18/2005)

HISTORY OF MANAGEMENT THOUGHT AND ITS LEGACY FOR TODAY'S WORLD

But I'm coming to believe that all of us are ghosts .... It's not just what we inherit from our mothers or fathers. It's also the shadows of dead ideas and opinions and convictions. They're no longer alive, but they grip us all the same, and hold on to us against our will.

- Henrik Ibsen, Ghosts

Is there one best way to manage the activities of people in an organization? Many beginning managers (and even some experienced
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Aristotle in his Politics commented on the value of specialization of labor, departmentation, and delegation of authority, among other managerial concepts.

Before the Industrial Revolution, societies were essentially static with key decisions being made by a central authority such as a king or a queen. Early ideas of management tended to reappear or be reinvented sporadically in one culture after another. Organizations could be managed on a basis of a ruler's "divine right," a church's use of dogma, or on the military's use of discipline. There was little need to develop and record a formal body of management thought in early non-industrialized civilizations. The political, religious, and economic beliefs of these early societies did not allow business organizations to develop to any degree. For instance, the economic philosophy of mercantilism, popular in Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, dictated that all business activity was subservient to the needs of the nation. The state therefore intervened in all economic affairs and regulated private economic activity to a large degree. Under these conditions, the political, religious, and military leaders of the time were more concerned with commanding than with managing. Nicolo Machiavelli's book, The Prince, was written in 1513 as an exposition on how to rule successfully by gaining and holding power. His comments on the nature of people reflects a set of assumptions which sounds like

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