Field of Management – Chronology

The father, professional engineering, was already established on May 26, 1886 when Henry Towne presented his paper signaling the birth of the new child, management. The mother political economy or economies, nurtured this child in universities by taking custody in the emerging schools of business (Wharton, the oldest, was formed in 1881). Not until after World War II (more precisely after 1960 and the Carnegic and Ford Foundation reports) did management mature to adulthood with its own Academy Journal. Then came the marriage of the young adult to the behavioral sciences and quantitative methods. The offspring of the new management fortunately inherited excellent genes from psychology, statistics, sociology, and mathematics but it left home and often spurned its father (engineering) and mother (economics) by limiting its scope to narrow specialized topics. Its god father (accounting), himself over 400 years old, continued to be viewed as an outside auditor and not as a blood relative.

Now let’s leave the analogy and summarize the chronological facts.

Growth during First 100 years

The chief characteristics of management’s growth can be succinctly summarized:

1. Management and business education have increasingly attracted more students, faculty, and money within the university setting; today management students comprise 10 to 25% of total registrants in individual universities.
2. The number of trade and textbooks on management has increased while scholarly journals and individual articles have multiplied.
(a) In the 1950s only five basic texts were available in industrial management, business organization, and principles; in the 1980s the number is at least five times as many.
(b) In the 1950s few specialized scholarly journals were available to management researchers including publication of such associations as the American management associations and leading universities e.g. Harvard Business Review and the Journal of business (University of Chicago).
(c) By the 1980s the best seller list for nonfiction usually included three or more books management in the top ten and for long periods. At times, the number 1 and number 2 books were on management topics (outselling sex and body building books).

3. Academic respect for management education from faculty colleagues has been gained slowly.
4. Management topics remain a ‘mixed breed’ without an established ‘pedigree’. Even the AACSB’s accreditation standards have a footnote advising that administration shall be understood to include business administration and management. Some universities have a management department among 10 or 15 departments in business while some name the entire school of Management.
5. Internationally, management is viewed as an American phenomenon.
6. Graduate degrees in business, MBAs, have increased but with some question as to the role of undergraduate education in business; the greatest quantitative growth has been in community college offerings.
7. Professionalism of the field of management remains a debatable point but generally is less than in other fields, e.g. law, medicine, engineering.

Mixed Breed: Not only is the lineage of management not pure but dominant concepts continually shift from one decade to the next. We have seen that for the first 50 years industrial engineers set the pattern for management thinking. From 1944-55 the major interest was in describing management and practicing “Human relation”. The 1960 was a turning point with the introduction of the behavioral sciences ad quantitative methods. Scientific verification pushed the art of management and philosophy aside. In the 1980s the popularity of management in nonfiction ad no television reintroduced the simplified version of management – keep close to customers and innovate.

Milestones in Development of the Field of Management

Accounting – double entry bookkeeping 1494
First business school – Wharton (University of Pennsylvania) 1881
American Association of Collegiate Schools of business CSB) first standards 1919
American Academy of management 1936
First Review Published 1958
First Review Published 1976
Report of the Ford foundation 1959
Report of the Carnegie Foundation 1959

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