Summarizes part of the findings of the author′s research into the popularity of management ideas. Taking a historical perspective, the six families of popular management ideas of the last century – bureaucracy, scientific management, classical management, human relations, neo‐human relations and guru theory were identified. Following an analysis of these ideas, 12 recurring features which are found in the majority of them were discovered. These features were labelled communicability, changeable human nature, individual focus, control, steps and principles, universal application, applicability, authorization, self‐confirmation, unitary perspective, contribution‐ownership potential and leadership focus. Defines and describes each characteristic briefly, and relates it to the action which management consultants need to take if they are successfully to influence managers to adopt their ideas and prescriptions.
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