Editor's introduction

Journal of Management History (Archive)

ISSN: 1355-252X

Article publication date: 1 September 1999



Whitney Gibson, J. (1999), "Editor's introduction", Journal of Management History (Archive), Vol. 5 No. 6. https://doi.org/10.1108/jmh_arc.1999.15805faa.001



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 1999, MCB UP Limited

Editor's introduction

About the Guest Editor Jane Whitney Gibsonis a Professor of Management at Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA, where she teaches management, organizational behavior, and communications at the undergraduate, Master's, and doctoral levels. She also serves as Director of Business & Administrative Studies at the Farquhar Center for Undergraduate Studies. Gibson is the author of numerous articles and books, most recently "How to go from classroom based to online delivery in 18 months or less: a case study in online program development," with Jorge M. Herrera, in T.H.E. Journal, January 1999. She currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Management History and The International Journal of Public Administration. She is also the Book Review Editor for The Journal of Leadership Studies.

Keywords Management, History

I remember how excited I was some years back when Ron Greenwood told us that Jack Rabin had agreed to publish a new journal dedicated to research in the field of management history. For those of us who were members of the Management History Division of the Academy of Management, this represented a primary outlet for publishing articles in our field of interest. I was equally excited when shortly thereafter I was invited to join the editorial board of JMH. The best news of all, however, came in 1996, when it was announced that JMH would devote one issue a year to the best papers presented at the annual meeting of the Management History Division. This special issue presents the best papers of 1998 and is the second issue in a series of those best papers.

The seven papers presented here are quite representative of the broad scope of work contributed to the Management History Division. It can reasonably be argued that anything about management can be written from a historical point of view and the papers chosen this year provide fine examples of this phenomenon. The first two papers look at ancient and international manifestations of management. The following two focus on current management fads. Papers five and six look at two US corporations and their contribution to management history and the final paper examines the works of five notable management historians of the late twentieth century.

The lead-off paper by Dan Svyantek, "Make haste slowly": Augustus Caesar transforms the Roman world", contrasts the management/leadership styles of Julius and Augustus Caesar and suggests that Augustus Caesar's incremental approach to change was successful in transforming the existing social system whereas Julius Caesar's more radical, transformational methods failed.

Next, Stewart Johnston and Lynn McAlevey's "The rise and fall and rise of Japan's stable shareholders" looks at the current system of Japanese industrial groups and the role of groups of "executive-friendly" stable shareholders in these companies who lessen the threats of external threats to corporate governance.

Third, Paula Carson, Patricia Lanier, Kerry Carson and Betty Birkenmeier give us "A historical perspective on fad adoption and abandonment". Carson et al. pose and answer the interesting question of at what point does one of the many managerial fads become something more permanent and why?

A very good companion piece to the previous article, Chester Spell asks "Where do management fashions come from, and how long do they stay?". As with the Carson et al. article, Spell uses bibliometric analysis, in this case to examine management fashions such as benchmarking and quality circles. Interestingly, Spell finds that such fashions emerge in the popular press before they appear in the academic literature.

With the fifth article by Raymond Hogler, the focus changes to a specific US company, in this case the United States Steel Corporation. "Changing forms of workplace representation: the United States Steel Corporation, 1933-1937" looks at how non-union systems of employee representation, typically used to prevent unions, led to unionization at United States Steel in the 1930s. This experience is thought to have implications for contemporary unions and their attitudes toward existing legislation which prohibits certain forms of workplace organization in non-union firms.

Next, "The history of Herman Miller, Inc. and the nature of emergence: "emergent all the way down" by Thomas Hench looks at the evolution of another US corporation, Herman Miller, Inc. and suggests that far more was at work than providence in the development of Herman Miller and in its successful adaptation in times of trouble. Hench uses the characteristics of emergent, self-organization to explain this evolution, including the contention that "history matters", i.e. that history provides context and constraints on the future.

Finally, Jane Gibson, Richard Hodgetts and Jorge Herrera present "Management history gurus of the 1990s: their lives, their contributions" which chronicles the lives and significant contributions of five of the best and brightest of the long-standing Management History Division members: Art Bedeian, Chuck Wrege, Dan Wren, Al Bolton, and James Worthy.

Dedication of the issue

To Ron Greenwood and Jim Worthy who enriched us all with their friendship and scholarship. We miss you but you travel with us.

Jane Whitney GibsonGuest Editor

The author would like to thank all the authors and especially Dr Jack Rabin, Editor of the Journal of Management History, MCB University Press and the Management History Division for making this special issue such an exciting project.