Early management thought is often not thought of by many business majors as primitive in nature, but there is a vast array of management history which most do not know. Modern management is not often thought of as modern management theory, yet it would have to be to be namely modern management. Management thought has been researched in reference to early management thought verses modern management thought. Most business executives only have a healthy understanding of current and modern management thought and little knowledge on the facet of the management history which has birthed modern management thought.
Management thought involves politics and theory. The politics of management thought often come from the ones whom want the management styles to be received (O’Connor, 1999). It is commonly know that political institutions are known to establish and restore order to under established institutions. Management science during the factory era did just that. During the Great Depression management science was desperately needed for reestablishing jobs. The Labor Unions were created as a result. This proved to be one of the most effective changes management science contributed to history (Wren/Bendein, 2009).
Management science & thought have aspects that have been the foundation of our modern management styles. Early management started like everything else in the world stated; with people wanting a solution to a problem. Management thought has been often thought of as a type of science, and in fact it is. Managerial science uses assts of human resources and business principles to define and resolve workplace issues (Bedeian, 2004) In the early era of factory modeled companies managerial sciences were basically obsolete and non-existent. Whereas during the more advanced managerial thought era companies started to focus on more of a humanistic approach to resolving issues with managerial science by establishing policies and procedures as well as employee labor relations (Bedeian, 2004).
Among all of the management thought theories there are some key principles that have been defined. The fundamentals of the past have been neglected by scholars of the present day. The evolution of management thought has been deprived of the past which has the backbone of modern day management (Bedeian, 1998). It is a known fact that anything that is currently in existence as we as humans may know it to be, had to come from somewhere.
“The past exists in a reciprocal relationship with the present (Bedeian, 2004).” Management is a trade and ordnance which has been around for centuries and has always had its own place in any history which is studied. Early management thought has evolved over this time period with more advance thinking in how to better manage and keep order. Significant contributions have deemed necessary in order for management thought to become as evolved as we know it today. Modern management thought is surrounded by policies, procedures and ethical methodologies which guide corporate America. Many aspects of modern management thought derived from the economic history of traditional management. Factory era management science concepts such as well defined hierarchy, labor relations, rules and regulations, interpersonal skills, competence and records management cultivated the framework of the 21st century of modern management. (CliffsNotes, 2010)
Modern management science is obviously shaped by every aspect of the past. Education can teach management thought, but it is only truly understood by experience. Management thinking and science involves many lessons that are considered to be invaluable which are explained by Bedeian in the Gift of Professional Maturity in five lessons. The first lesson is that of “realizing ideas are a product of their own time and place.”(Bedeian, 2004) This is an epiphany for business majors because it denounces the idea of management thought being universal to all times. In fact, one particular management style may only be justified and useful in that particular time period such as the Great Depression. The management thought of that time period and that of the current time period of entirely different and only aspects of the management thought of the Great Depression are applicable to modern times (Bedeian, 2004).
The second lesson in management thinking in accordance to Bedeian is the “advantage of being an informed consumer of “received knowledge.” This is simple but one of the truest statements I have ever read in my entire life. Information is vitally important when it comes to management thought. Information is the only important adversary when it comes to management thought; everything in management theory is based off of acclaimed information. Without “received knowledge” management is obsolete (Bedeian, 2004).
The third lesson of Bedeian is “the danger of inherent in relying on secondary source materials.” When it comes to secondary information, it may as well be a piece of trash – in my professional opinion. Secondary information; when it comes to management thought is useless. Which is why modern management thought has a bit of an advantage over factor era management thought.
The forth lesson in management information of Bedeian is “widely accepted facts are often wrong.” This was stunning , because as an accelerated scholar I have been often told that what I read and see is true when it comes to research. Bedeian insinuates accepted facts are widely wrong this begs the explanation of what is considered to be accepted as fact. In management thought fact may not always be determined as fact unless the information to support the facts are true in nature (Bedeian, 2004). During the factory era the employees were not receiving managerial facts about the actual conditions with which they had been working. Compensation was greatly understated, child labor was widespread and employees were not sure who to put their faith into. Modern management thought has learned lessons from the factory era management history and has taken great strides to improve these facets of management.
The fifth and last lesson of Bedeian is the “special advantage of the past history.” (Bedeian, 2004) Modern management thinking has had the advantage of learning from the past events that were so devastating to the world and has the advantage of making better management economic choices.
In conclusion early management thought is the foundation of modern management thought. Without the past managerial mistakes and lessons learned we would not have future accomplishments in management. Many aspects of the factory era has allowed us to make better managerial decisions and improve on the world in reference to management thought(Bedeian, 1998). The lessons of Bedeian have established foundations for improving modern management thought and are applicable to these modern times(Bedeian, 2004). History teaches us more that what we may be able to discover on our own. If we take the time to remember the foundations of our current situations, maybe we will see the opportunity to become more than what we thought we could grow to be.
1. The Politics of Management Thought: A Case Study of the Harvard Business School and the Human
Relations School. Ellen S. O’Connor. The Academy of Management Review, Vol. 24, No. 1 (Jan., 1999), pp.
117-131 Published bywe: Academy of Management
2. Bedeian, A. G. (1998). Exploring the past . Journal of Management History, 4(O’Connor, 1999), 4-15.
3. Bedeian, A. G. (2004). The gift of professional maturity . Academy of Management Learning and Education, 3(O’Connor, 1999), 92-98.
4. (Wren/Bendein, 2009) Wren, D. A., & Bendein, A. G. (2009). The evolution of management thought (6th ed).
Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.