Management History Essay

10156 Words Sep 26th, 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 ones)
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What went wrong in this example? A number of very bright people spent a lot of time re-designing a task to make it more efficient, but ended up with poorer performance, employee dissatisfaction, and probably higher hiring and training costs. The well-intentioned managers at Hovey and Beard ignored the lessons of history. They introduced what most managers believed were methods to improve efficiency without considering the likelihood of undesirable side effects. It was these side effects, however, that caused efficiency to decline instead of increase. For these reasons, among others, this chapter explains the development of management thought and shows why the application of some still-popular concepts and techniques do not always work out as planned.

EARLY MANAGEMENT

The practice of management can be traced back in time thousands of years. The Chinese bureaucracy was, for example, fully developed into a hierarchy of officials based upon a merit rating system perhaps as early as 1000 B.C. One of the most ancient terms used to describe the position of a manager is that of vizier in Egypt. The title was in use around 1750 B.C. and probably earlier. The "rule of ten" in the span of management was an Egyptian practice of allocating around 10 servants to each supervisor. The ancient concepts…