Civilized urban societies led to more
specialization, created new vocational
alternatives to manual labor, and saw
a tendency of those who did not work
with their hands to look down on those
who did. This particular attitude was
fostered by scribes, who used their
knowledge of writing to produce
literature that mocked the illiterate
When we read that the Pharaoh build
we know that in fact that actual work
was done by other people. As these
laborers cut, moved, and placed the
stones, the first managers were there
to tell them what to do, to see that
they did it, and to chastise those
whose performance was unsatisfactory.
Basically, these were the functions of
managers until the twentieth century.
The apogee of this form of management
was perhaps reached in late nineteenth
in the factory system. One can still
visit the Boott
Cotton Mills Museum of in Lowell,
Massachusetts to see how work and
management were organized then.
The Lowell mills were famous because
instead of relying on immigrants, they
also recruited, hired, and provided
dormitories for middle class young
women, selling the idea that
employment and the money it brought
were socially acceptable and increased
their marital prospects. Today one can still read the
work rules that these women had to
follow. One stated that only short
sleeve dresses were permitted. This was because when the mill
managers saw employees talking instead
of working, they would strike them in
the arm with a rattan. Long-sleeved dresses impeded
the effectiveness of this form of
The "hit them with a whip"
school of management suffered a decline and fall in the 20th
century, though remnants still exist in various places in the
world and the wish for such methods still is expressed now and
then even by contemporary managers. Other methods of managing workers received classical
expression in Frederick Taylor's Scientific
Management in 1911. Taylorism led to new management
tools involving such techniques as measurement and statistics.
What might be called the "efficiency
expert" school of management was for the most part
supplanted around the 1960s by a more "humanistic"
approach, whose classical exponent was the psychologist Abraham
changes in management thinking in this decade reflected the
more educated workforce and greater respect for democracy that
grew out of World War II.
In the 1970s Robert
Greenleaf invented Servant
Leadership, and in the 1990s Peter Block carried this
concept forward to Stewardship.
These ideas revolutionized the mental model for managers by
suggesting that they replace thinking about how to get people
to do things with thinking about to help people do things.
Best practice management concepts in the
late 20th century also included excellence and total quality
management, reengineering, systems thinking, cross functional
teams, empowerment, delayering and flat organization charts,
learning organization, dialogue, reinventing work, and
knowledge in general increased with "Internet
speed," management thought, already heavily influenced by
psychological sciences, received infusions from numerous
cross-fertilization between academia and the business
community created a vast increase in management related
Some of these trends – such as TQM and
reengineering - seemed by 2000 to have run their course. The
permanent value of the new thinking underlying them, however,
should not be denied; and 21st century versions of these
movements should actually be welcomed.
Others trends – such as learning and
diversity – progressed to the point where "second
generation" (learning organization) or "new"
(diversity) versions appeared. In the early 21st century, it
was even easy to see the development of a "third
wave" in these well-established concepts.
Just as the 21st century has seen new
types of organizations and new ways of doing business arise,
so, too, will there be new management trends, ideas, and
running after every trendy idea is hardly a recommendable
strategy, the wise manager will learn, study, and apply the
best current thinking.
At the start of the 21st century, the
following rate to be the most important ideas regarding
Management is for everyone. As educational levels rise and information technology
accelerates, the distinction between "managers" and
"workers" will fade away and management knowledge
will be everyone's responsibility.
Management is for learners. As information becomes the chief product of every
business and as knowledge continues to explode, everyone will
be a learner and the manager's foremost task will to promote
Management is based on communicating. As techniques for planning, strategizing,
decision-making, and problem solving become the common
province of everyone in the organization, the need for
improving communication will be paramount and managers will be
increasingly using dialogue and other communication
Management is about change. As technology and
information reshape all our lives, change management will be
"business as usual" and managers will be change
agents who guide everyone to find and embrace the best new
Management is broad based. As boundaries disappear within organizations and in the
world at large, the scope of management will grow and managers
will be organizational development experts, diversity experts,
facilitation experts, consultation experts – and much else.