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The Role of Theory and History Management

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The importance of theory and history

Theory provides a simple conceptual framework for organizing knowledge and for providing a blueprint for action to help guide organizations toward their goals.

Contributions from past industrialists have molded the organizational culture and managers can benefit from an awareness of these contributions.


The historical context of management

Social forces are the norms and values that characterize a culture. Early social forces allowed workers to be treated poorly; however, more recent social forces have provided for more acceptable working conditions for workers. Social forces have influenced management theory in areas such as motivation and leadership.

Economic forces are the ideas behind the concept of a market economy such as private ownership of property, economic freedom, competitive markets, and a limited role for government.

Political forces such as govemmental regulations play a significant role in how organizations choose to manage themselves. Political forces have influenced management theory in the areas of environmental analysis, planning, control, organization design, and employee rights.


Precursors to management theory

While the practice of management can be traced back to 3000 B.C., it was not given serious attention until the 1 800s when large organizations emerged.

Early management pioneers

The early pioneers include:


  • Robert Owen was one of the first managers to show respect and dignity to workers in his factory. He implemented better working conditions, raised the minimum age for child labor, reduced hours, and supplied meals.
  • Charles Babbage applied mathematic principles to find ways to make the most efficient use of facilities and materials. He also advocated profit-sharing plans.
  • Andrew Ure was one of the world's first professors to teach management principles at Anderson's College in Glasglow.


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