January 1, 1994
Organizations today are struggling to make their management systems more effective. Most are losing the battle. Part of the problem is that they do not understand the evolving nature of these systems. They do not understand the forces of the shape them historically, that are currently shaping them, and that will shape them in the future. Without such an understanding, efforts are too often blind and fragmented.
The Evolution of Management Theory explores modern day management practices, attitudes, and values. It begins with their origins, showing how many of these practices are rooted in much earlier periods – the Medieval Era, the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the early Industrial Revolution – and have changed little as the centuries rolled on, though the world being managed has changed radically.
The book explores key historic moments – birth of the profit motive and the Protestant Work Ethic, the rise of mass production, the factory, laissez-faire economics, domination of the robber barons, advent of the union movement, the involvement of academia, the humanist movement, scientific management, global competition, the computer, systems theory, the quality improvement movement.
The book discusses the fact that we are close to turning another historic corner, Not in terms of technology this time, though technology has certainly helped us get there, but in terms of the individual and societal values upon which management theory and practices are based. It will also discuss the dangers spawned by our progress, most resulting from the lack of a true understanding of the big picture. It also discusses the fact that we are currently trying to deal with these dangers piecemeal, but cannot do so successfully because they are systemic in nature and centuries in the making.
Our challenge, then, if we want to get around the corner, is to develop a new way of thinking. Fortunately, as so frequently occurs in history, the necessary vehicle has materialized. In this case it is the quality improvement movement. The book briefly discusses the nature of that movement.
William Roth, Ph.D., currently holds the Edward A. McCabe Chair of Business and Society at Allentown College St. Francis de Sales. His undergraduate work was done at Dartmouth College. His doctorate in management sciences was earned at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He has three other books currently in print, Work and Rewards: Redefining Our Work-Life Reality (Praeger, 1989), A Systems Approach to Quality Improvement (Praeger, 1992), and Problem-Solving for Results (St Lucie, 1996). He has also published over 30 articles on management theory and quality improvement in journals including Personnel, The Journal for Quality and Participation, Manufacturing Technology International, The TQM Journal, Pulp and Paper International, Quality Progress, Quality Digest, and Business Forum. Dr. Roth has worked on management and development projects with the governments of Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Mexico; with cities and smaller communities, and with a range of companies including AT&T, TheSun company, Anheuser Busch, The Mars Corporation, International Paper, Mack Truck, and Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Centre.