Psychological management: changing qualities of the ideal manager in Finland 1949‐2009

Pekka Varje (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland)
Jussi Turtiainen (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland)
Ari Väänänen (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland)

Journal of Management History

ISSN: 1751-1348

Publication date: 4 January 2013

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to study the historical emergence of psychological management in Finnish working life from the viewpoint of recruitment process by examining the changing qualities of the ideal manager in Finland in the post‐Second World War era.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is conducted through an analysis of 1,305 manager position job advertisements in the major Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat between 1949 and 2009.

Findings

The average number of references to personal skills and traits in manager position job advertisements grew from 0.7 to 3.8 between 1949 and 2009, and by the end of the 1990s exceeded the average number of references to technical and cognitive skills. During the same period, intrinsic job benefits largely replaced extrinsic benefits in job advertisements. The results suggest that the anthropocentric management of personalities and subjectivities was gradually introduced to Finnish organizations over a period of several decades. The complex historical process, deeply interlinked with organizational and societal developments, resulted in a highly multi‐dimensional ideal manager of 2009.

Originality/value

The study offers original knowledge regarding the emergence of psychological management, and sharpens the picture of changing management ideals in a national context.

Keywords

Citation

Varje, P., Turtiainen, J. and Väänänen, A. (2013), "Psychological management: changing qualities of the ideal manager in Finland 1949‐2009", Journal of Management History, Vol. 19 No. 1, pp. 33-54. https://doi.org/10.1108/17511341311286187

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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