• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Contemporary thinking about management is still frequently presented as a set of universal, eternal verities. In this fascinating book Roy Jacques presents a discursive history of industrial work relationships in the United States which powerfully demonstrates that they are not. A central concern is to show that current `common-sense' in management forms an historically and culturally specific way of thinking about work and society which is often inappropriate for `managing for the twenty-first century'. The author is equally interested in revealing the cultural basis for American management ideas, currently exported round the world as an objective science, disconnected from its cultural and historical roots.

Evolutionary and Discursive Histories of Knowledge
Evolutionary and discursive histories of knowledge
The ‘Evolution’ of Management Knowledge: The First Century and a Half

It would be no difficult task to compile … [a] Hand-Book of Mercantile practice. It would be still more profitable to arrange this mass of material into something like a system, and to construct out of them a true theory of business. (Freeman Hunt, 1857: vi; Worth and Wealth: Maxims for Merchants and Men of Business)

Unless we admit that rules of thumb, the limited experience of the executives in each individual business, and the general sentiment of the street, are the sole possible guides for executive decisions of major importance, it is pertinent to inquire … how a proper theory of business is to ...

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