Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Management History, Volume 15, Issue 1
We begin this fourth year of Journal of Management History’s ( JMH ’s) reincarnation with an issue that is replete with synchronicity, a concept brought to attention by Jung (1972). The first paper, a literary biography of two of management history’s outstanding contributors, Dan Wren and Art Bedeian, is followed by an example of Dan Wren’s continuing contribution to the field, and then a paper involving one of Art Bedeian’s favourite subjects, scientific management. The second-half of the issue has a series of interconnected papers relating to the positive influence of religion and spirituality on behaviour and organizational performance, an exploration of the differences between accountability and responsibility in a public service context and, finally, the influence of CEO values on a firm’s ethics and behaviour.
Attempts to represent the achievements of colleagues can descend into hagiography rather than biography, but this is not a problem for Abraham et al. (2009), who provide a balanced analysis of the histories of two outstanding management historians, Dan Wren and Art Bedeian. Abraham and his colleagues trace Wren’s and Bedeian’s intellectual and institutional pedigrees, utilising, inter alia, video interviews of each author. One focus of this effort is to be able to discern how their own narration of the past might explain their present-day achievements. It also provides important insights into the way these two prolific contributors to the body of management knowledge have gone about their work of interpretation and analysis and how they have arrived at the various conclusions reflected in their publications.
If you have not been following his writings for your own scholarly purposes, you will read in the paper from Abraham et al. (2009) that Dan Wren has been tracing the evolution of management thought, by examining the backgrounds, ideas and influences of major contributors, for nearly four decades, since the first edition of The Evolution of Management Thought (Wren, 1972). A measure of the continuing relevance and significance of this invaluable reference text is that the sixth edition being released in February in partnership with long-standing colleague, Wren and Bedeain (2009). I am delighted that Dan also continues to make his contribution to management history scholarship through journal manuscripts and it is my pleasure here to introduce his latest offering on Joseph Scanlon (Wren, 2009).
To read management texts at the turn of this century, one could be forgiven for believing that employee participation and gain-sharing were ideas invented in the 1990s. Wren (2009) disabuses any such notion through his description of the contributions of Joseph Scanlon that encouraged union-management cooperation and workers and managers sharing gains from improved productivity, first in industry and then later at MIT. This biographical study uses archival and unpublished sources to provide new insights into Scanlon and how he developed his plan for cooperation and gainsharing, a plan that has outlived many fads and remains a viable means to promote and reward labor-management cooperation and improve efficiency and competitiveness (Wren, 2009).
Justice Louis Brandeis is probably best known for his role on the US Supreme Court and his work as a legal scholar. Savino (2009) reminds us of the part that he also played as an advocate of scientific management, promoting what he saw as the virtues of scientific management in its early period of development. In doing so, Savino (2009) shows how Brandeis was able to blend his appreciation and understanding of efficient business practices (based on the scientific management principles he advocated) with his view of a legal society to produce sound and convincing legal recommendations.
One of the recent developments in the maturation of the Academy of Management has been the establishment of the Management, spirituality and religion division. This is also an area of management theorising which has a history, and Ali (2009) seeks to shed light on how Islamic thinking in the seventh and eleventh centuries might offer useful insights for behaviour in today’s organizations. In an approach that Ali recognises as reminiscent of Maslow’s (1943, 1954) hierarchy of needs, Ali (2009) outlines the Islamic levels of human existence – Sawala, Amara, Lawama, and Mutamainna – and maps them against the control and reward systems and growth opportunities in an organisational context. Ali (2009) is content to note that his work shows how religion may provide a potentially useful framework within which to study the relationship between faith and work. More than this though, in the same way that Fanny Cheung and her colleagues have adapted the “Big Five” methodology to personality developed in the USA for China (Cheung et al., 2004; Cheung et al., 1996), Ali’s (2009) exposition provides important insights for organisations looking to operate in countries with large Muslim populations.
Lee (2008) has noted that, despite the decades of writing on corporate social responsibility, we are still without either a dominant paradigm or a supportive body of coherent empirical findings. This gave me pause to consider whether it is for the very reason that, because we try to attach social responsibilities to the corporate entities and the legal persons they embody, rather than to the human persons that constitute the organisations they represent, that this is the case (Lamond, 2008a). This matter was further highlighted by a comment from Chris Davis, a British Member of the European Parliament (MEP), regarding problems of financial transparency within the European Parliament (quoted in Charter, 2008, p. 5):
The financial rules in the European Parliament are complicated and even seem designed to discourage ethical behaviour, he said. But you would expect British MEPs to know right from wrong.
Writing further on “the personal” in social responsibility (Lamond, 2008b) I pointed out that, without totally deconstructing Mr Davis’ statement, responsibility here is clearly attached to the person rather than the institution or its rules. It is principled behaviour, rather than rule following or adherence to codes of conduct that is expected. I wondered in turn if it is unreasonable to expect the same of the senior executives of corporate entities? Our final two papers in this issue pick up on the subjects of personal accountability/responsibility and corporate social responsibility, in turn.
Jackson (2009) deals with the matter of accountability versus responsibility in his consideration of the debate between Herman Finer and Carl Friedrich about obeying orders versus acting on judgements about the greater good. While the so-called Finer-Friedrich debate is frequently mentioned in discussions of public administration, Jackson’s (2009) is the first sustained account of the debate. As he explores the debate, Jackson (2009), necessarily is drawn into what Wilenski (1986) referred to as the myth of the policy-administration dichotomy – where does politics qua policy end and administration begin? It also has echoes of Chris Davis’ comment on the expectations of the behaviour of British MEPs and provides further food for thought on how Finer and Friedrich might have replied to Davis.
According to Fayol (1949, pp. 98-103) one exercises command, inter alia, through good example and by balancing the interests of the organisation and its employees through a “strong sense of duty and of equity” (p. 100). Tetrault Sirsly (2009) picks up this theme in part when she examines how chief executive officer values and ethics have been translated into corporate social responsibility in a stakeholder view of the firm over the course of the twentieth century, by way of the reflections of early business scholars on top management’s impact on corporate social responsibility are examined and linked to more contemporary views. Tetrault Sirsly’s (2009) provides at once a framework for understanding how the “personal” in social responsibility has been transformed into the “corporate”. In providing this framework, Tetrault-Sirsly’s work also allows for us to rediscover and re-install the personal.
And so you have this synchronous issue of the JMH.
Abraham, D.R., Gibson, M.C., Novicevic, M.M. and Robinson, R.K. (2009), “Becoming an outstanding management historian in the United States: biographical research of Wren’s and Bedeian’s pathways”, Journal of Management History, Vol. 15 No. 1
Ali, A. (2009), “Levels of existence and motivation in Islam”, Journal of Management History, Vol. 15 No. 1
Charter, D. (2008), “Tory MEP paid £400,000 expenses to his own firm”, The Times, June 5, p. 5
Cheung, F.M., Cheung, S.F. and Zhang, J.X. (2004), “What is Chinese personality? Subgroup differences in the Chinese Personality Assessment Inventory (CPAI-2)”, Acta Psychologica Sinica, Vol. 36, pp. 491–9
Cheung, F.M., Leung, K., Fan, R., Song, W.Z., Zhang, J.X. and Zhang, J.P. (1996), “Development of the Chinese Personality Assessment Inventory (CPAI)”, Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, Vol. 27, pp. 181–99
Fayol, H. (1949), General and Industrial Management, Pitman, London (trans. C. Storrs)
Jackson, M. (2009), “Responsibility versus accountability in the Friedrich-Finer debate”, Journal of Management History, Vol. 15 No. 1
Jung, C.G. (1972), Synchronicity – An Acausal Connecting Principle, Routledge and Kegan Paul, New York, NY (translated by R.F.C. Hull)
Lamond, D.A. (2008a), “Treading the lines between self-interest, cultural relativism and universal principles: ethics in the global marketplace”, Management Decision, Vol. 46 No. 8, pp. 1122–31
Lamond, D.A. (2008b), “Self-interest, cultural relativism and ethics in the global marketplace”, EFMD Global Focus, Vol. 2 No. 3, pp. 44–7
Lee, T. (2008), “Preface: on the importance of understanding ethics in the global marketplace”, Management Decision, Vol. 46 No. 8, pp. 1119–21
Maslow, A.H. (1943), “A theory of human motivation”, Psychological Review, Vol. 50, pp. 370–9
Maslow, A.H. (1954), Motivation and Personality, Harper, New York, NY
Savino, D.M. (2009), “Louis D. Brandeis and his role promoting scientific management as a progressive movement”, Journal of Management History, Vol. 15 No. 1
Tetrault Sirsly, C. (2009), “75 Years of lessons learned: chief executive officer values and corporate social responsibility”, Journal of Management History, Vol. 15 No. 1
Wilenski, P. (1986), Public Power and Public Administration, Hale and Iremonger, Sydney
Wren, D.A. (1972), The Evolution of Management Thought, Ronald Press Company, New York, NY
Wren, D.A. (2009), “Joseph N. Scanlon: the man and the plan”, Journal of Management History, Vol. 15 No. 1
Wren, D.A. and Bedeain, A. (2009), The Evolution of Management Thought, 6th ed., Wiley, New York, NY