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Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited
One thing that will immediately become apparent to the reader of this edition of JMH, the second of 2019, is the extent to which the journal has become truly international. With our first article, “The Separation of Directors and Managers”, two of the authors are from France (Blanche Segrestin and Armand Hatchuel) and one is from the UK (Andrew Johnston). The authors for our second piece, “Taking Britain from Darkness into Light”, (Sandra van der Laan, Lee Moerman and David Campbell) are from Australia. Those for the third (Nicholous Deal, Rene Arseneault and Albert Mills), who have authored “Reading ‘Canadian’ Management in Context”, are based in Canada and Finland. The authors for the fourth piece, “The Narrative Cleansing of Andrew Carnegie”, are from the USA (John Humphreys, Mario Hayek, Milorad Novicevic, Stephanie Pane Haden and Jared Pickens). With the fifth article, “A Columbian Classic Management Thinker”, we have authors based in Columbia in South America (Luis Antonio Orozoc and Olga Lucia Anzola). The authors for the sixth article, “Researching the History of Marginalized Issues in Management Research” – Sanjukta Choudhury Kaul, Manjit Singh Sandhu and Quamrul Alam – are currently based in Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia, respectively. The author of our final article on “Formation of Management Thought in the Early USSR” – Vadim Marshev – is Russian. In total, this equates to authors from ten countries, spread across five continents.
Of the above articles, the first – “The Separation of Directors and Managers: A Historical Examination of the Status of Managers” – won Best Paper status at the Academy of Management’s Annual Meeting in Chicago in August 2018, a shortened version being included in the Academy’s Best Paper Proceedings. In this paper, Blanche Segrestin (Mines ParisTech, PSL Research University), Andrew Johnston (University of Sheffield) and Armand Hatchuel (Mines ParisTech, PSL Research University) add a powerful new dimension to Berle and Means’s (1932) famed study, The Modern Corporation and Private Property. Whereas Berle and Means’s study – like Alfred D. Chandler’s (1977) subsequent, The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business – argue that modern business has been marked by an increase in managerial power and a corresponding decrease in the power of owners, this study points to the fact that legal systems never reflected this shift. Corporate law still reflected the view that directors should be primarily concerned with protecting the interests (and profits) of owners. To the extent that legal “reform” has occurred, it has been directed toward increasing the power of owners at the expense of managers. The consequence of this, the authors argue, is “that the overall mission of management to develop new capabilities and organise innovation processes has progressively become secondary to the purpose of maximizing shareholder value”.
Our second article by Sandra van der Laan (University of Sydney), Lee Moerman (University of Wollongong) and the late David Campbell is entitled “Taking Britain from Darkness into Light: The ‘Professional Businessman’ during World War I”. This paper explores shifting business and societal “discourses” during and immediately after World War I as Britain tried to recapture the sense of imperial and industrial glory that had been lost in Flanders’ bloody fields. This is achieved by a Foucauldian discourse analysis of the work of a Lancashire businessman, Sir Samuel Turner III, who authored From War to Work in 1918 and co-authored Eclipse or Empire in 1916 with H.B. Gray. What emerged from this discourse, the authors argue, was the recasting of the businessperson’s role as a “professional” who provided strategic guidance; an image that tried to set aside earlier images associated with the “capitalist”.
In our third article, “Reading ‘Canadian’ Management in Context: Development of English and French Education”, the three authors – Nicholous Deal (Soby School of Business, Halifax, Canada), Rene Arseneault (Soby School of Business, Halifax, Canada) and Albert Mills (Saint Mary’s University, Halfax and University of Eastern Finland) – help explain the distinct culture of French-speaking Quebec through an analysis of the management texts used in Quebec tertiary institutions since the early 1960s. Associated with what is referred to as to the “Quiet Revolution” in Quebec – wherein conservative, rurally focussed Quebec nationalists were replaced by more urbane leaders who wished to reorientate the economy while at the same time maintaining its distinct French-speaking culture – management texts in Quebec differed, in that they more frequently looked to French rather than USA’s models. The result, the authors conclude, was an explicit “critical perspective” that was largely absent from the English-language texts during the same period.
The fourth of our articles, “The Narrative Cleansing of Andrew Carnegie: Entrepreneurial Generativity as Identity Capital”, is by John Humphreys (Texas A&M-Commerce), Mario Hayek (Texas A&M-Commerce), Milorad Novicevic (University of Mississippi), Stephanie Pane Haden (Texas A&M-Commerce) and Jared Pickens (Texas A&M-Commerce). This biographical piece of one of the most famed, or infamous (depending on your point of view), is framed within a narrative “of guilt and redemption”. The article begins with a quote from Homer’s Odysseus, which tells of “the man of twists and turns driven time and again off course”. If this quote well sums up the human condition in general, it has particular poignancy in the life of Andrew Carnegie; a life that began in Scottish poverty, traversed a career in the railroads, steel and high finance and ended back in Scotland, where the former “robber baron” lived out his life as a grand philanthropist. This trajectory is associated with what the authors call “moral licencing” and “entrepreneurial generativity”, i.e. a narrative that allows the simultaneous achievement of “self-oriented” goals while “maintaining esteem and congruency” with others.
The fifth of our articles, “A Columbian Classic Management Thinker: Alejandro López Restrepo”, is by Luis Antonio Orozoc and Olga Lucia Anzola (both from Universidad Externado de Columbia). As the title suggests, this article deals with Alejandro López Restrepo (1876-1940), a Columbian civil and mining engineer who was seminal to the introduction of the ideas of “scientific management” into Columbia. Emerging from the industrialized Antioquia region of Columbia, Orozac and Anzola argue that the significance of López’s ideas were felt not just in the fields of business and management but also in society at large, where López’s liberal thinking stood in contrast to the dominant elite perspectives of his times. A prolific writer, a manager and an educationalist, Orozac and Anzola demonstrate how López’s ideas emphasised not just improved efficiency but also the maximum development of a worker’s “faculties and capabilities”. For me, and no doubt for other readers of JMH, this article provides a unique insight into an area where I suspect many of us are shamelessly ignorant.
In article number six, “Researching the History of Marginalized Issues in Management Research: A Proposed Interpretive Framework”, the authors – Sanjukta Choudhury Kaul (Bina Nusantara University, Djakarta, Indonesia), Manjit Singh Sandhu (Monash University, Malaysia) and Quamrul Alam (CQUniversity, Melbourne, Australia) – propose a theoretical framework that is very much within the compass of the “critical literature” associated with the so-called “historic turn” (Rowlinson et al.). In exploring these issues, Kaul, Sandu and Alam use archival research in India to examine the issue of disability and its treatment in colonial and post-colonial India. In doing so, they point to the precarious state of many Indian archives; repositories which they describe as “poorly maintained” with “restrictive access”.
The last of the articles is by Armen Petrosyan from Tver in the Russian Federation. A graduate from the Lomonsov Moscow State University, Petrosyan is a regular author in this journal. In this article, Petrosyan’s study, entitled Whirling in Between the Personal and the Impersonal, explores the issue of organisational goals, or what he refers to as the organisation’s own “image of the desired future”. As Petrosyan indicates, it is this “desired future” that directs (or should direct) “the activities of both the collective in whole and its individual members”. Once a seminal area focus of management studies, the interest in organisational goals is one which Petrosoyan correctly notes been progressively lost, and is now typically only “touched upon rarely, cursorily, and casually”. The complexity of the apparently simple matter of organisational goals is well indicated when Petrosyan explores the historical origins of our understanding of the concept; concepts initially rooted in Max Weber’s study of bureaucracy and his belief that bureaucratic objectives should be “impersonal and functional”. Such Weberian concepts, Petrosyan notes, side uneasily with Weber’s emphasis on “culture-values”, and how these are used to tie individuals into personal commitments to organisational purpose. By the latter half of the twentieth century, this emphasis on the collective ethos and purpose of the organisation had, however, experienced a profound transfiguration as people such as Douglas McGregor and Chris Argyris focussed on the “human side” of organisations. Increasingly, however, this “humanistic” view came to be seen as naïve. Not only is it difficult for organisations to consistently pursue any objective, given the pressure of environmental factors, but the correlations between individual and organisational interests are also never – as Chester Barnard correctly identified – more than partial. Unsurprisingly, such difficulties produced a subsequent tendency to avoid the core problem of organisational objectives altogether, leaving in abeyance the key problem of trying to match impersonal organisational objectives with those held personally by individual employees and managers. It is in search of a theoretical way out of this intellectual quandary that Petrosyan devotes his article.
The next issue of this journal, I am pleased to announce, is the Special Issue on Methodologies, being edited by Gabrielle Durepos and Wim Van Lent. Although I have been a mere observer to this issue, the excellence of the papers is clearly apparent.