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Article
Publication date: 9 January 2009

D. Reed Abraham, M. Chad Gibson, Milorad M. Novicevic and Robert K. Robinson

The purpose of this paper is to make a specific attempt of historicizing outstanding academic leadership in the field of management history.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to make a specific attempt of historicizing outstanding academic leadership in the field of management history.

Design/methodology/approach

By using the biographical method and applying it to the material contained in Hodgetts's video interview of Wren and Bedeian's autobiography, the authors examine how outstanding management laureates, Wren and Bedeian, look back on their own lives and the people who influenced them.

Findings

The intellectual and institutional origins of their life stories are traced and the factors in Wren's and Bedeian's lives that might explain their pathways to becoming the US outstanding management historians as the Academy of Management Fellows are assessed.

Practical implications

The paper highlights the most outstanding achievements of the past in a manner that might be valuable when addressing the present day concerns about outstanding teaching and research in the field of management history.

Originality/value

The unique contribution of this study is its focus on showing how the manner in which outstanding management historians narrate the past may explain their present‐day achievements, and thus help readers understand that very past.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 14 January 2019

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

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Article
Publication date: 7 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

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Article
Publication date: 13 April 2015

H. Kristl Davison and Jack Smothers

The purpose of this paper is to propose that the Theory X style of management arose from a fundamental attribution error, in which managers assumed that employees’ lack of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose that the Theory X style of management arose from a fundamental attribution error, in which managers assumed that employees’ lack of motivation was a disposition rather than a function of unmotivating work situations.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reviews the nature of work during the industrial revolution from a Job Characteristics Model perspective and compares Theory X and Theory Y perspectives in terms of their emphasis on dispositional or situational influences on behavior.

Findings

It was found that factory work performed during the industrial revolution was likely to be deficient in terms of the five core dimensions of the Job Characteristics Model, and would have been unmotivating. Because of the fundamental attribution error, managers would have assumed that workers were unmotivated by nature, but the situation was likely the cause of their lack of motivation.

Practical implications

As illustrated by our findings, management theory development and interpretation can benefit from understanding the historical context within which the theory was developed. Considering both situational and person (i.e. individual differences or traits) effects is particularly important for theory development.

Originality/value

The unique contribution of this paper is to make the connection between the characteristics of work performed during the industrial revolution and consequent inaccurate managerial attributions of worker motivation (i.e. Theory X).

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 21 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 27 June 2008

David D. van Fleet

Currently, only a small number of manuscripts dealing with management history are being submitted to journals, and few of those are being accepted for publication. What is…

Abstract

Purpose

Currently, only a small number of manuscripts dealing with management history are being submitted to journals, and few of those are being accepted for publication. What is needed to change this situation is more high‐quality research that is more interesting to a wider audience. The purpose of this paper is to offer some suggestions for overcoming current deficiencies.

Design/methodology/approach

The perspective of one editor about what is being done and what might be done in terms of publishing management history research is presented.

Findings

The unique perspective of an individual who is a past editor of a major management journal and current editor of an online journal each of which has published a variety of management history articles is presented.

Originality/value

The paper stresses that too few management history manuscripts submitted to journals are of high‐enough quality or sufficiently interesting to merit publication and that more good quality research that is interesting to a wider audience is needed. The paper offers suggestions to management history scholars as a means of changing this situation.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 14 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 13 April 2015

Grace K. Dagher, Olga Chapa and Nora Junaid

This paper aims to highlight the historical roots of employee engagement and empirically examine the influence of self-efficacy on the three dimensions of employee…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to highlight the historical roots of employee engagement and empirically examine the influence of self-efficacy on the three dimensions of employee engagement (vigor, dedication and absorption).

Design/methodology/approach

A sample of 426 male and female respondents in the service industry from Lebanon was surveyed using a multi-scale measure composed of 25 items. Regression analysis was used to test the data for the hypothesized relationships between the variables.

Findings

History of management continues to be the backbone of the so-called modern concepts. Although the term employee engagement was not used in scientific management or in the human relations movement, the characteristics were incorporated in these early schools. The three factors of employee engagement explained 78 per cent of the total variance of employee engagement construct and were significantly influenced by self-efficacy.

Research limitations/implications

The first limitation of this study is the self-reported data, and the second limitation is the source from one industry (service), although different organizations were incorporated. Caution is advised against generalizations of the findings.

Practical implications

The results of this study provide insights for both researchers and managers to better understand the relationship between three dimensions of employee engagement and self-efficacy from a non-Western context. The belief in one’s own capabilities helps promote employee engagement.

Social implications

Lebanon offers an interesting context; it is considered as the only Arab country that provides an interaction between the Western and Middle Eastern countries.

Originality/value

This study aimed to trace the historical roots of employee engagement to the early management schools. Moreover, studies similar to the present investigation exist; however, this is the first time that a non-Western Arab sample was used to examine the influence of self-efficacy on the three dimensions of employee engagement.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 21 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 12 September 2016

Jane Whitney Gibson, Jack Deem, Jacqueline E. Einstein and John H. Humphreys

The purpose of this study is to examine the life and work of Frank Gilbreth using a critical biographical approach to draw connections between his life experiences and the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine the life and work of Frank Gilbreth using a critical biographical approach to draw connections between his life experiences and the major contributions he made to management history.

Design/methodology/approach

The research design is critical biography. First, a biography is provided that reveals critical incidents from his childhood, his early career before marriage, his life after his marriage and his key personality traits. Gilbreth’s major contributions to management thought are then considered in context of his biography.

Findings

Although Frank Gilbreth is recalled for his contributions to management history through his work in advancing efficiency through motion studies, he should likewise be credited for his foresight of management theories related to the human element in organizations. The major influences on Gilbreth’s career include Lillian Gilbreth and Frederick Taylor.

Research limitations/implications

A limitation of critical biography is that researchers cannot address causality but, rather, are focused on drawing connections between life experiences and significant accomplishments.

Originality/value

Critical biography can illuminate theory and practice by providing greater clarity by examining concepts in depth and in context. The authors situate Frank Gilbreth’s work in the context of his lived experiences.

Details

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

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 27 September 2011

Lee D. Parker and Philip Ritson

The purpose of this paper is to analyse and critique Lyndall Urwick's long‐term advocacy of scientific management and its influence upon management thought.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse and critique Lyndall Urwick's long‐term advocacy of scientific management and its influence upon management thought.

Design/methodology/approach

An analysis and critique of Urwick's published writings across 60 years, on the subject of scientific management and organizations, particularly linking his work and arguments to the influence of Frederick Taylor, also positioning him relative to the thinking of leading thinkers such as Henri Fayol.

Findings

This paper argues that the key to understanding his legacy lies in his unique and changing definition of “scientific management”. This was broader than the definition applied by most of his contemporaries and inspired his integrationist project of assimilating Taylorist scientific management into a raft of developing schools of management thought.

Research limitations/implications

Urwick's legacy included a lifetime campaign to reconcile scientific management with succeeding schools of thought, today's management literature stereotyping of some of his contemporary thinkers, and a contribution to management literature's predilection for the labelling of theories and principles.

Practical implications

The paper argues for returning to original sources to accurately understand the intentions and arguments of early founders of many aspects of today's management practice. It also alerts us to the proclivity of management theory and practice to opt for convenient labels that may represent a variety of historical and contemporary meanings.

Originality/value

The paper offers a critical reflection and assessment of the longest standing advocate of scientific management in the management literature.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 17 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 10 September 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

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Article
Publication date: 6 August 2020

Yaron J. Zoller and Jeff Muldoon

Although the topic of span of control (SOC) has been discussed in detail in management literature and education, less focus has been placed on the decline research since…

Abstract

Purpose

Although the topic of span of control (SOC) has been discussed in detail in management literature and education, less focus has been placed on the decline research since the 1970s and, thus, the future relevance of the concept. By providing a historical overview of the literature on SOC through the work of key management scholars, this paper aims to explain why the literatures’ coverage of the topic has been significantly diminished in recent decades and offers suggestions as to why further research on the topic is needed.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors provide a historical literature review and analysis on the decline of SOC as a construct of interest.

Findings

The findings of the paper include a brief analysis of SOC. The concept was a very strong concept that declined as management became more scientific, rejecting classical management theory. This rejection occurred because SOC was impacted by multiple factors making it impossible to effectively study, making it imprecise. Likewise, SOC is too applied and lacked theoretical relevance. However, SOC still has value, especially when paired with a theory such as leader-member-exchange (LMX).

Originality/value

The authors argue that SOC is still relevant today and management scholars should align its study with its practice in modern organizational structures. However, its focus needs to change and be added to other theories such as LMX.

1 – 10 of 138