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Article
Publication date: 28 October 2019

Jeff Muldoon, Joshua Bendickson, Antonina Bauman and Eric W. Liguori

Elton Mayo was a professor at a prestigious university, but not a researcher; a scholar, but more concerned with executives; a capitalist, but someone who downplayed…

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Abstract

Purpose

Elton Mayo was a professor at a prestigious university, but not a researcher; a scholar, but more concerned with executives; a capitalist, but someone who downplayed monetary incentives; an insider, but someone whose own background was more of an outsider. These contradictions have resulted in scholars questioning Mayo’s impact on the field of management. Thus, this paper aims to critically review Mayo and his contributions to management through a lens calibrated to the context of his time, providing a more contextually accurate view of Mayo and his work and offering a clearer view of his meaningful impact on the field.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a combination of primary and secondary sources, the authors connect otherwise disparate information to critically review Mayo’s work within the context of its era.

Findings

The authors’ critical review of Mayo identified nine topical areas where Mayo and/or his work have been misunderstood or misinterpreted. For each area, the authors offer a more contextualized and appropriate interpretation of Mayo and his viewpoints, and thus more accurately informing the management literature.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to thoroughly revisit Mayo and his work through a contextualized lens, offering a more informed view of why Mayo’s seemingly controversial behaviors were actually quite standard behaviors given his context.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 26 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 7 December 2020

Yaron J. Zoller and Jeff Muldoon

This paper aims to conduct a historical study using both primary (archival data) and secondary sources to evaluate the social conditions of the community of employees at…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to conduct a historical study using both primary (archival data) and secondary sources to evaluate the social conditions of the community of employees at Hawthorne Works between 1907 and 1933.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper evaluates the historical and social context of the 1915 Eastland disaster, specifically, the effects of the Eastland disaster on the community and the company to improve understanding of the contextual background and conditions which influenced the Hawthorne studies. This will also serve as a case study of crisis management.

Findings

The findings of the paper argue that the Eastland disaster likely contributed to the expansion of welfare capitalism practices by Western Electric in the 1920s–1930s and established the social and communal conditions which made the Hawthorne studies (1924–1933) possible.

Originality/value

Rather than evaluating the Hawthorne studies themselves, this paper focuses on social factors which made the Hawthorne Works plant site and the community serving it an ideal locale to host the famous studies as part of Western Electric’s practice of welfare capitalism and a distraction from the traumatic event which scarred the community and urged the Western Electric company to react. This study also provides an early example of crisis management.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 27 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 21 November 2018

Yaron J. Zoller and Jeff Muldoon

The purpose of this paper is to suggest Homans’ social exchange theory (SET), a management theory, as an explanation for some of the findings of some of the Hawthorne…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to suggest Homans’ social exchange theory (SET), a management theory, as an explanation for some of the findings of some of the Hawthorne experiments (1924-1933), which demonstrated how social situations play an important role in task performance and productivity and how social exchanges can facilitate it. The authors also use SET to investigate Elton Mayo’s inquiry as to what caused spontaneous cooperation in Hawthorne.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors used a combination of published work by Homans, Roethlisberger and Dickson, Mayo and others, as well as oral histories conducted by Greenwood and Bolton in 1982-1984, to argue that some of the Hawthorne studies illustrate the principles of SET. Homans’ SET brought together concepts from multiple disciplines and offered a framework to explain social behaviors.

Findings

The relay assembly room and the bank wiring tests of Hawthorne studies can illustrate SET as developed by Homans. With the development of SET, Homans not only provided explanations for the creation of strong feelings of affiliation and trust through interactions and mutual dependence between group members but also provided evidence to Mayo’s concept of spontaneous collaboration.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations of the paper are that the studies themselves can lend themselves to multiple perspectives due to design flaws. Therefore, our argument is only one interpretation – even if it is something that the researchers would have supported.

Originality/value

The paper augments the ongoing discussion about the Hawthorne studies in the literature and in the development of management theories such as SET. The authors provide support that it is through the attempts to explain the Hawthorne studies and the post-Second World War controversies over the studies that Homans developed social exchange. Building on previous work, the methods show perspectives beyond the motivations and sentiments of Homans by demonstrating observable behaviors from the Hawthorne studies.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 25 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 22 March 2021

Bradley Bowden and Jeff Muldoon

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Abstract

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 27 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Article
Publication date: 12 September 2016

Josh Bendickson, Jeff Muldoon, Eric W. Liguori and Phillip E. Davis

By revisiting the agency theory literature, this paper aims to both incrementally advance historical viewpoints and reveal four prominent influences on agency theory…

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Abstract

Purpose

By revisiting the agency theory literature, this paper aims to both incrementally advance historical viewpoints and reveal four prominent influences on agency theory: Weber and Simon, The Great Depression, Cooperation and the Chicago School. This is critical given that understanding the history behind the authors’ major theoretical lenses is fundamental to using these theories to explain various phenomena.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on a plethora of archival sources and following the influence-mapping approach used by other management history scholars, this manuscript synthesizes historical accounts and archival information to provide a clearer picture of the major historical influences in the formation of agency theory.

Findings

We shed light on four areas related to management history that helped propel agency theory. Whereas past scholarship has not recognised them as influencers, we find and show how the industrial revolution, unionization, the stock exchange and other management approaches all played a role in the development of agency theory’s core tenants.

Originality/value

We extend upon the influential people and events that shaped agency theory, thus providing a fuller understanding of the theory’s usefulness. Moreover, we fill in gaps enabling scholars to better understand the context in which the core tenants of agency theory were developed.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 22 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 12 October 2018

Caroyln Garrity, Eric W. Liguori and Jeff Muldoon

This paper aims to offer a critical biography of Joan Woodward, often considered the founder of contingency theory. This paper examines Woodward’s background to develop a…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to offer a critical biography of Joan Woodward, often considered the founder of contingency theory. This paper examines Woodward’s background to develop a more complete understanding of the factors that influenced her work.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper draws on insights gained from personal correspondence with two colleagues of Woodward, one who recruited her to the Imperial College where she conducted her most prominent work and one whom she recruited while at the college. In addition, Woodward’s original work, academic literature, published remembrances and a plethora of other secondary sources are reviewed.

Findings

By connecting these otherwise disparate sources of information, a more complete understanding of Woodward’s work and its context is provided. It is argued that Woodward’s education, training, brilliance, values, the relative weakness of British sociology and the need to improve the economy helped to make Woodward’s work both original and practical.

Originality/value

The originality of this work is to examine the work of Woodward through the lens of critical biography. Despite Woodward’s contributions, Woodward remains an underappreciated figure. The purpose is to provide her contribution against the backdrop of the British industrial and educational sphere.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 24 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 5 September 2020

Jeff Muldoon

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the debate initiated by the “historic turn.” This debate has seen several rebuttals of the methodologies and conceptual…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the debate initiated by the “historic turn.” This debate has seen several rebuttals of the methodologies and conceptual frameworks advocated by proponents of the “historic turn” including ANTi-History. In contributing to this debate, this paper provides a discussion on some of the ongoing debates within the field. The purpose is to neither condemn nor defend – but to clarify and find points of agreement.

Design/methodology/approach

The design implied is an overview of some of the themes in the field – locating key concepts of agreement and key aspects of disagreement.

Findings

There is a middle ground between the two schools. One is a continued focus on primary sources, the use of new methodologies, understanding context and some new approaches. We must carefully consider context and text and limit the use of concepts that have real limitations.

Originality/value

This is an overview of the field by someone who was considered a critic of the new history. The purpose is to find middle ground.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 15 June 2021

Eric W. Liguori, Christoph Winkler, Lee J. Zane, Jeff Muldoon and Doan Winkel

This paper explores community college entrepreneurship education's near-instantaneous transition to online course delivery following the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper explores community college entrepreneurship education's near-instantaneous transition to online course delivery following the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.

Design/methodology/approach

Primary data were obtained from 92 community college entrepreneurship faculty via online survey in late March of 2020, right at the time faculty were required to transition their courses to an online mode of delivery due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Data were collected in partnership with the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship and the Entrepreneurship Education Project.

Findings

While the majority of community college entrepreneurship educators have taught online previously, many were not familiar with exemplar education technology tools and applications, demonstrating an opportunity for continued professional development. To deliver courses online, educators primarily relied on pre-recorded lectures and using Zoom as the technology platform of choice. Last, there were significant faculty concerns about their ability to effectively create an “experiential” classroom virtually for students to learn and practice entrepreneurship.

Originality/value

This is the first paper investigating how community college entrepreneurship educators responded to one of the most disruptive events to ever impact entrepreneurship education (viz. the COVID-19 pandemic). More broadly, this is also one of very few studies exploring both (1) community college entrepreneurship education and (2) how unexpected crises (e.g. natural disasters, pandemics) impact educational environments.

Details

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 28 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1462-6004

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 8 January 2018

Jeff Muldoon, Eric W. Liguori, Josh Bendickson and Antonina Bauman

This paper aims to correct some misconceptions about George Homans. Specifically, it clarifies the relationship between Homans and Malinowski, explains why Homans is…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to correct some misconceptions about George Homans. Specifically, it clarifies the relationship between Homans and Malinowski, explains why Homans is rightfully considered the father of social exchange, shows Homans’ perspective on altruism and self-interest and analyses Homans’ place in management’s complex history.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptual paper which synthesizes both primary and secondary sources on Homans, social exchange theory (SET), Malinowski and other Homans’ contemporaries and theories, which, in aggregate, help dispel some common misconceptions in the literature today.

Findings

This paper disperses several common misconceptions about Homans and his work. First, the findings show that beliefs that Homans was unaware of Malinowski are not justified, as Homans was not only aware of Malinowski but also significantly influenced by Malinowski’s work. Second, this manuscript clarifies that while Homans, for specific reasons, focussed on self-interest, his work accounted for altruism. Lastly, this paper also further cements Homans’ place in history as the father of social exchange.

Originality/value

Recent misconceptions have emerged in the literature calling to question not only Homans’ legitimacy as the father of social exchange but also some of his views on the theory itself. By clarifying these misconceptions, this paper enables scholars from a variety of management fields to better understand historical foundations of SET and its impact on current research.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 24 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 14 November 2018

Jeff Muldoon

The purpose of this paper is to review the recent book A New History of Management (NHM) and to discuss the strengths and limitations of the book versus traditional…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review the recent book A New History of Management (NHM) and to discuss the strengths and limitations of the book versus traditional management history as practiced by Wren and Bedeian.

Design/methodology/approach

I analyze NHM by looking at the evidence presented in the book versus the historical record.

Findings

Although there are some strengths to NHM, the scholars often fail to address the larger historical evidence, which reduces the value of their work.

Originality/value

The value is to start a discussion of the nature of management history by discussing traditional versus postmodern history. Hopefully, the authors can commence with a dialogue to further historical research.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 25 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

1 – 10 of 37