Stephen Cummings, Todd Bridgman, John Hassard, Michael Rowlinson

A New History of Management

Cambridge University Press 2017

New Books in Critical TheoryNew Books in EconomicsNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Intellectual HistoryNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in SociologyNew Books Network March 21, 2018 Andrea Bernardi

Did Abraham Maslow actually ever draw a pyramid of hierarchy of needs? Did Kurt Lewin devote substantial work on the development of a change...

Did Abraham Maslow actually ever draw a pyramid of hierarchy of needs? Did Kurt Lewin devote substantial work on the development of a change management theory? Why do we omit or misrepresent important features of the work of Adam Smith, Max Weber or Frederick Winslow Taylor? What is the forgotten origin of Harvard Business School case method?

I was joined by two of the authors—Stephen Cummings and Todd Bridgman— ofA New History of Management (Cambridge University Press, 2016), a great new book that answers those and many more questions. The book is a very important contribution to critical management studies that uncovers the inaccuracies and simplifications (if not actual inventions) that populate management and organization textbooks. A New History of Management is not a conspiracy theory, but rather it is the result of rigorous historical research on how the field of management studies was constructed in the past century. The authors argue that the existing narratives about how we should organize are built upon, and reinforce, a concept of “good management” derived from what is assumed to be a fundamental need to increase efficiency. But this assumption is based on a presentist, monocultural, and generally limited view of management’s past. This book is for both scholars and practitioners, tutors and students. Academics will be able to reflect critically on the nature of business education and on conformism in teaching and research. Practitioners and students will be able to challenge what they have been taught as a scientific rather than ideological artifact.

Both students and scholars will be able to discuss alternative approaches for managing and organizing in the twenty-first century. Animated videos on the book are available on here.

Andrea Bernardi is Senior Lecturer in Employment and Organization Studies at Oxford Brookes University in the UK. He holds a doctorate in Organization Theory from the University of Milan, Bicocca. He has held teaching and research positions in Italy, China and the UK. Among his research interests are the use of history in management studies, the co-operative sector, and Chinese co-operatives. His latest project is looking at health care in rural China. He is the co-convener of the EAEPEs permanent track on Critical Management Studies.

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