Sunday, 15 July 2018
50 OF THE SIGNIFICANT MANAGEMENT THINKERS
Summaries of the life and work of over 50 of the most significant thinkers in the field of management
Abraham Maslow: the hierarchy of needs
Abraham Maslow was a US psychologist and behavioural scientist. He spent part of his career in industry as well as working as an academic. His "Hierarchy of Needs Theory" was developed in his book "Motivation and Personality", first published in 1954. His concepts were originally offered as general explanations of human behaviour but quickly became a significant contribution to workplace motivation theory. They are still used by managers today to understand, predict and influence employee motivation. As people have increasingly come to be appreciated as a key resource in successful companies, Maslow's model has remained a valuable management concept.
Adam Smith: founder of political economics
Adam Smith published his best-known book, fully entitled An Enquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations but more commonly known as The Wealth of Nations, in 1776. This is often described as one of the most important texts of the last 300 years; its two main philosophical points stressed the supreme value of individual liberty, and the pursuit of self-interest as ultimately beneficial for society as a whole. There is some debate about whether the book acted as a watershed for change in economic affairs in itself, but there is no doubt, however, about its catalytic social and economic effects.
Albert Mehrabian: nonverbal communication
The life, career and key theories of Professor Albert Mehrabian are reviewed. His theories include the 7-38-55% communication rule. His work is placed within the perspective of current management thinking.
Alfred D Chandler Jr: business history as a management tool
The American academic Alfred D Chandler introduced the concept of using real examples of corporate and business history as teaching tools. Chandler's thinking is reviewed here together with his key works including 'Strategy and structure' published in 1962. The life and career of Alfred Chandler is presented and his contribution to management is placed in perspective.
Alfred Sloan: president of General Motors
Alfred Sloan's achievement was of a practical nature and manifested itself in the organisational structure of General Motors. Sloan's contribution to management theory is the concept of the decentralised organisation and this work is presented. An overview of the life and career of Alfred Sloan is provided and his contribution to management is placed in perspective.
Alvin Toffler: the futurologists futurologist
Alvin Toffler is widely recognised as one of the world's leading authorities on change. His trilogy of books, 'Future Shock', 'The Third Wave' and 'Powershift' are reviewed and his life and career are presented. Toffler's contribution to management is considered and placed in perspective.
C K Prahalad: a new view of strategy
C K Prahalad was one of the most influential thinkers on strategy in the US. His work stems from a deep concern with the ability of large organisations to maintain their competitive vitality when faced with international competition and changing business environments. Many of his ideas on competitive analysis argued against the supremacy of traditional strategic thinking - market share and value chains - and instead focused upon the concepts of `Strategic intent', `Core competence' and `Strategy as stretch and leverage'.
Charlene Li: social media and technologies
Charlene Li is a thought leader on the use of social media and emerging technologies. Her key theories are reviewed. These include the groundswell and social technographics ladder, open leadership in organisations, and developing a social business strategy.
Charles Handy: understanding the changing organisation
The work of Charles Handy in understanding the changing organisation is reviewed with particular focus on four key works, 'Understanding Organizations', 'The Age of Unreason', 'Gods of Management', and 'The Empty Raincoat'. His life and career are presented and his contribution to management is placed in perspective.
Chester Barnard: pioneering organisational theorist and practitioner
Barnard's key ideas centre on the importance of individuals and communication to organisation structure. An overview of the life and career of Chester Barnard is presented and his key writings are reviewed, including 'The functions of the executive' and 'Organisation and management:selected papers'. His contribution to management is considered and placed in perspective.
Chris Argyris: the managers academic
Chris Argyris’ work on organisational problems make him one of the most respected management thinkers of our time. He is also one of a small, exclusive band of ‘cross-over’ management experts: people who are as much at home in the earthy world of factory and boardroom as they are in the rarefied atmosphere of academia. A staunch supporter of job enrichment, Argyris has always challenged the extremes of Taylorism, especially the suggestion that one ‘hires a hand’, rather than a whole person. Underlying virtually all his thinking is a fundamental belief in people, and he tirelessly reminds us of the mutual benefit that comes when organisations assist and encourage individuals to develop their full potential.
Claude Shannon: father of information theory
Claude Shannon's pioneering publication The mathematical theory of communication laid the foundations for information theory and earned Shannon the title of founding father. Shannon's life and career are reviewed and his key theories explained.
Dale Carnegie: how to win friends and influence people
Dale Carnegie's best-known work focused on basic, essential principles for dealing with people successfully. His common-sense advice included never criticising, complaining about or condemning another person, giving sincere appreciation to others, and stimulating in others a specific desire, in order to motivate them. Carnegie's main focus is on interpersonal skills, effective communication and being a successful salesperson.
Daniel Goleman: emotional intelligence
Daniel Goleman is usually credited with challenging the traditional view of IQ by drawing together research on how the brain works and developing this to promote and popularise the concept of emotional intelligence. His key theories are presented together with his framework of emotional intelligence and his emotional competence inventory. An overview of Goleman's life and career is provided and his contribution to management is considered.
David C McClelland: motivation theorist and father of the contemporary movement
The eminent Harvard psychologist David C McClelland was most famous for his work on what motivates people to achieve and for his development of the notion of competencies. His key theories, including his Three Needs Theory and his Competency Theory are introduced and his key writings are reviewed. The life and career of David McClelland is presented and his contribution to management is placed in perspective.
Douglas McGregor: theory X and theory Y
Douglas McGregor believed that managers' basic beliefs have a dominant influence on the way that organisations are run. Managers' assumptions about the behaviour of people are central to this. McGregor argues that these assumptions fall into two broad categories - Theory X and Theory Y. These findings were detailed in The Human Side of Enterprise, first published in 1960. Theory X and Theory Y describe two views of people at work and may be used to describe two opposing management styles.
Edgar Schein: careers culture and organisational learning
Edgar Schein pioneered the concept of corporate culture with his landmark book Organizational Culture and Leadership (1985), which sparked off much research into organisational culture. Schein also coined the now much-used phrases ‘Psychological
Contract’ and ‘Career Anchor’.
Edward L Bernays: public relations pioneer
Edward Louis Bernays is widely regarded as an early founder and pioneer in the field of public relations (PR) and opinion making. For some, he is hailed as the founding father whilst others contest this accolade, claiming the crown rightly belongs to Ivy Lee who invented the press release and was responsible for coining the term ‘public relations’. What isn’t contested, however, is the significant contribution Bernays made to PR which earned him his rightful place in the history books. The life and career of Bernays are reviewed.
Eli Goldratt: business novelist and originator of the theory of constraints
Goldratt's Theory of Constraints (TOC), a framework for business improvement, is introduced and how Goldratt's fictional novel 'The Goal' and its sequel 'It's Not Luck' are used to illustrate TOC is explained. An overview of the life and career of Eli Goldratt is presented and his contribution to management is placed in perspective.
Elton Mayo: the Hawthorne experiments
Professor George Elton Mayo has secured fame as the leader in a series of experiments which became one of the great turning-points in management thinking. At the Hawthorne plant of Western Electric, he discovered that job satisfaction increased through employee participation in decisions rather than through short-term incentives. Mayo's importance to management lies in the fact that he established evidence on the value of a management approach and style which, although not necessarily an alternative to FW Taylor's scientific management, presented facts which Taylorites could not ignore.
Frank and Lillian Gilbreth: motion study pioneers
Management practitioners today largely ignore Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, possibly because the principles of motion study they pioneered are now very unfashionable. Motion study entailed the detailed examination of the movements individual workers made in the process of carrying out their work. It was, however, just one of the concepts the Gilbreths developed. Through Frank's concerns that the efficiency of employees should be balanced by an economy of effort and a minimisation of stress, and Lillian's interest in the psychology of management, their work laid the foundations for the development of the modern concepts of job simplification, meaningful work standards and incentive wage plans.
Frederick Herzberg: the hygiene motivation theory
Herzberg's hygiene motivation theory which was first published in The Motivation to Work in 1959 is presented. His work focused on the individual in the workplace, and has been popular with managers. The contribution to management of the work of Frederick Herzberg is placed in perspective.
Frederick Winslow Taylor: father of scientific management
Frederick Winslow Taylor is often called the 'father of scientific management'. His seminal work 'The Principles of scientific management' published in 1911 introduced four overriding principles of scientific management, or Taylorism as it is sometimes referred to as today. The life and career of Taylor is presented and his contribution to management is placed in perspective.
Gary Hamel: the search for a new strategic platform
Professor Gary Hamel is one of the most respected contributors to the debate on strategy of the late 20th century. His key thinking and writing is reviewed, including 'Competing for the future', 'Competing in the new economy', 'Strategy as revolution', 'Strategy innovation and the quest for value', 'Leading the revolution', and 'The future of management'. An overview of Hamel's life and career is presented and his contribution to management is placed in perspective.
Geert Hofstede: cultural diversity
Geert Hofstede has identified four dimensions for defining work-related values associated with national culture: power distance; individualism/collectivism; masculinity/femininity; uncertainty avoidance. He devised the Values Survey Module for use in researching cultural differences, and this has been used by many other researchers in their work.
Genichi Taguchi: the veteran design and development engineer
Genichi Taguchi is famous for his pioneering methods of modern quality control and low-cost quality engineering. He is the founder of what has come to be known as the Taguchi method, which seeks to improve product quality at the design stage by integrating quality control into product design, using experiment and statistical analysis. His methods have been said to fundamentally change the philosophy and practice of quality control.
Harold S Geneen: chief executive of International Telephone and Telegraph
Harold Geneen is known for turning ITT from a moderately successful American-based company into a massive international conglomerate which ran like a machine during the 1960s and 1970s. Descriptions of Geneen have varied from power-mad, hard-nosed, obsessive, paranoid or despotic on the one hand to, on the other, committed, disciplined, perfectionist, determined. Whichever are most accurate, he left behind a business machine that was almost without parallel in terms of the systematic efficiency which characterised its operations and the simultaneous awe and dread that ITT and Geneen inspired in the workforce.
Henri Fayol: planning organisation command coordination control
Henri Fayol remained comparatively unknown outside his native France for almost a quarter of a century after his death. Then, Constance Storrs published "General and Industrial Management" - a translation of his (unfinished) work "Administration Industrielle et Generale - Prevoyance, Organisation, Commandment, Controle" - and he posthumously gained widespread recognition for his work on administrative management. Today he is often described as the founding father of the Administration School.
Henry Laurence Gantt: the Gantt chart
Henry Laurence Gantt’s legacy to management is the Gantt Chart. Accepted as a commonplace project management tool today, it was an innovation of world-wide importance in the 1920s. But the Chart was not Gantt’s only legacy; he was also a forerunner of the Human Relations School of management and an early spokesman for the social responsibility of business.
Henry Mintzberg: a great generalist
Often regarded as an iconoclast and a rebel, Henry Mintzberg has certainly challenged many traditional ideas. But he does not attack people with whom he disagrees; he just quietly, simply and with devastating clarity, sets about proving them wrong. In his writing, which is the product of a career devoted single-mindedly to understanding how people actually manage, he resists every temptation to pontificate about how anyone ought to manage.
Igor Ansoff: father of corporate strategy
The work of Igor Ansoff, the originator of the strategic management concept, is reviewed with particular reference to his 1965 landmark book 'Corporate Strategy'. His key theories including, strategy decisions, components of strategy, Ansoff Matrix, Paralysis by analysis and work on Turbulence are explained. Ansoff's life and career is presented and his contribution to management is considered.
Ikujiro Nonaka: knowledge creation
Ikujiro Nonaka is best known for his focus on the creation of knowledge within organisations. Key theories put forward in his book 'Knowledge-creating company' co-authored with Hirotaka Takeuchi are explained. Recommendations are also made for how Western companies can become Knowledge-creating companies. Nonaka's contribution to management is considered and placed in perspective.
Jim Collins: what makes top companies successful?
Jim Collins is concerned with how top companies becomes successful and what makes these companies so great. An overview of his life and career are presented and his key writings are reviewed, including 'Beyond entrepreneurship', 'Built to last', Managing the small to mid-sized company', 'Good to great', and 'Good to great and the social sectors'. Collins' contribution to management is placed in perspective.
John Adair: action centred leadership
John Adair, best known for his three-circle model of Action-Centred Leadership, is widely regarded as Britain's foremost authority on leadership in organisations. An overview of Adair's life and career are presented and his contribution to management considered. His key theories together with his 50:50 rule, his eight rules for motivating people and his views on time management are explained.
Joseph M Juran: quality management
Joseph M Juran is acknowledged world-wide for his extensive contribution to quality management. His key ideas, as described in his book 'Quality control handbook', including the identification and popularisation of his 80:20 rule are reviewed. Juran's classic 'Managerial breakthrough' which presents his general theory of quality control is also reviewed. The life and career of Joseph Juran is presented.
Kenichi Ohmae: the art of Japanese business
Ohmae's fresh approach to business strategy challenged business leaders to think in innovative, simple and unconventional terms. His work, in the late 1970s and 1980s, heralded the arrival of Japanese management techniques in the West. Ohmae was the messenger for the Japanese way of doing business, urging managers to think `out of the box', and challenge accepted norms with clear, simple ideas to gain, and sustain, competitive advantage.
Kenneth Blanchard: the one minute manager
Blanchard's key works, including the 'One-minute manager' are briefly reviewed. The concept of the one-minute managers is discussed further and Blanchard's ABC's and the PRICE system developed in a follow on book are explained. The contribution to management made by Kenneth Blanchard is considered and placed in perspective.
Konasuke Matsushita: growth through adversity
Konasuke Matsushita was, for most of the twentieth century, the leader of one of the world's largest corporations. Yet few people outside his native Japan have ever heard of him, although they will have heard of one of his major brands - Panasonic. His focus on the human side of management and leadership is described.
Kurt Lewin: change management and group dynamics
Kurt Lewin was a social psychologist whose extensive work covered studies of leadership styles and their effects, work on group decision-making, the development of force field theory, the unfreeze/change/refreeze change management model, the ‘action research’ approach to research, and the group dynamics approach to training, (especially in the form of T Groups). Lewin has had a great influence on research and thinking on organisational development, and was behind the founding of the Center for Group Dynamics in the United States, through which many famous management thinkers passed.
Mary Parker Follett: prophet of management
Mary Parker Follett was one of the first people to apply psychological insight and social science findings to the study of industrial organisation and is recognised by many well-known management theorists, including Drucker, Moss Kanter and Mintzberg, as a great management philosopher. Follett's work focused on human relations within industrial groups, and many businessmen became convinced of the practical applications of her ideas. She, in turn, viewed business as a vital, exciting and pioneering field within which solutions to human relations problems were being tested out, to the ultimate benefit of the rest of society.
Max Weber: the conceptualisation of bureaucracy
Since the early 1980s it has become fashionable to criticise bureaucracies for being out of touch with rapidly changing market conditions. As the first to develop the concept of bureaucratic organisation, the German-born Max Weber has borne the brunt of much of that criticism. Any understanding of the way modern organisations work would be incomplete without at least a cursory study of Weber, who is commonly described as a founding father (with Durkheim) of sociology and whose work is also of historic importance from a managerial viewpoint. Weber’s thoughts on the concepts of leadership, power and authority are closely linked to his description of bureaucracy.
Michael Argyle: social psychologist of the workplace
Social psychologist Michael Argyle specialised in the study of interpersonal behaviour, social skills and body language and applied his work in the field of management and management training with great success. A review of his life and career is presented, and his key theories in the social psychology of work, non-verbal communication, and social skills training are outlined and placed in perspective.
Michael Porter: what is strategy?
In an age when management gurus are both lauded by the faithful and hounded by the critics, Michael Porter seems to be one of the few who is well-accepted both academically and in the business world. Though he has his critics, Porter has generally been viewed as at the leading edge of strategic thinking since his first major publication, Competitive Strategy (1980), which became a corporate bible for many in the early 1980s.
Niccolo Machiavelli: the patron saint of power
Throughout most of the five centuries since his death, Niccolo Machiavelli has not been a popular figure. There have always been a few people who appreciated his genius, but most have so closely associated him with intrigue and dark deeds that the term Machiavellian has entered almost every European language - a word that means something very different from good management. Fortunately, in the last 100 years or so, a more reasoned view of his work has developed and the enormous value of Machiavelli's philosophy, and its remarkable relevance to modern society, has emerged progressively.
Peter Drucker: the father of post war management
Peter Drucker was, by common consent, the founding father of modern management. His prolific writings are touched upon here with reviews of some of his important works. His life and career are presented and some of his Druckerisms are recounted. Drucker's contribution to management is considered.
Peter Senge: the learning organisation
For many years Peter Senge has studied how firms and organisations develop adaptive capabilities in a world of increasing complexity and change, but the success of his book The Fifth Discipline popularised the concept of the `Learning Organisation'.
Philip Crosby: zero defects
Philip Crosby wrote the best-seller Quality is Free at the time when the quality movement was a rising, innovative force in business and manufacturing. In the 1980s his consultancy was advising 40% of the Fortune 500 companies on quality management.
R Meredith Belbin: team building
The work of R Meredith Belbin, known as the father of team role theory, is reviewed. His research identifying eight (later extended to nine) useful roles which are necessary for a successful team, published on 'Management teams: why they succeed or fail' (1981) and later refined in 'Team roles at work' (1993) is presented. Belbin's team role theory is explained together with his self-perception inventory and the Interface system. His career is briefly mentioned and his contribution to management is considered and placed in perpective.
Reg Revans: action learning
The life and career of Reg Revans is presented and his theories on Action learning, including action learning processes and principles are outlined. His key works are listed and his contribution to management is placed in perspective.
Richard Tanner Pascale: change agility and complexity
Richard Tanner Pascale came to prominence in the early 1980s at the time when Peters' and Waterman's In Search of Excellence, published in 1982, was aiming to redefine the route to corporate success. His Art of Japanese Management expounding the virtues of the McKinsey Seven S model (co-authored with Anthony Athos) has become a classic, and he has remained at the forefront of management thinking ever since.
Robert Cialdini: influence and persuasion
Professor Robert Cialdini is a celebrated social psychologist who has undertaken extensive research on the psychology of influence, persuasion and negotiation. he has spent his career researching the science of influence and his six universal principles of influence are explored.
Robert Kaplan and David Norton: the balanced scorecard
Robert Kaplan and David Norton are jointly recognised as the popularisers of the balanced scorecard, which both measures and motivates business performance. How Kaplan and Norton advise setting up the scorecard and how to implement it is explained. Their lives and careers are presented and their contributions to management are considered.
Robert Owen: pioneer of personnel management
Robert Owen was an early industrialist - perhaps best known for his model textile factory and village at New Lanark in Scotland. Conditions in early factories were extremely harsh, with very hazardous working conditions for all employees. Long working hours were the norm, with children as young as five or six working under the same conditions as adults. Factory owners placed more importance on the care of their expensive machines than on the well-being (or otherwise) of their expendable employees. Owen's strength was that he saw his employees as every bit as important to the success of his enterprise as the machines he owned. By examining working methods and conditions, and seeking to improve these, he is justifiably claimed as a father of personnel management.
Robert R Blake and Jane S Mouton: the managerial grid
Robert R Blake and Jane S Mouton are primarily known for the development of the Managerial Grid. Their lives and careers are presented and their thinking is reviewed. How they also developed their own educational theories on how to best teach Grid theories and concepts in their book 'Synergogy' is introduced. The contribution to management of Blake and Mouton are placed in perspective.
Rosabeth Moss Kanter: pioneer of empowerment and change management
An overview of the life and career of Rosabeth Moss Kanter is presented. Her key writings are reviewed, including 'Men and women of the corporation', 'The Change Masters', 'When Giants learn to dance', 'World class: thriving locally in the global economy' and 'Confidence: how winning streaks and losing streaks begin and end'. Her contribution to management writing is placed in perspective.
Stephen R Covey: the seven habits of highly effective people
Stephen R Covey offers a holistic approach to life and work in his book 'The seven habits of highly effective people' which is reviewed here. His more recent idea of an 8th habit is also introduced. The life and career of Stephen Covey is presented and his contribution to management is placed in perspective.
Sumantra Ghoshal: professor of the spring strategy
Key theories from Sumantra Ghoshal and research with collaborator Christopher Bartlett into what makes large organisations tick are reviewed. These include Managing across borders and Ghoshal's Springtime theory. Ghoshal's life and career are presented and his contribution to management assessed.
Sun Tzu: strategy and the art of war
Sun Tzu is generally understood to be a Chinese general who lived over 2,400 years ago, at roughly the same time as Confucius. Raised in a family of army officers, Sun Tzu became familiar with, and eventually expert in, military affairs. Historians are generally agreed that he led, and was successful in, a number of military campaigns in the region currently known as the Anhui Province. His precise dates of birth and death are not known, but it is known that the state of Wu, under whose sovereign he served, became a dominant power at that time. Since then, it has become standard practice for Chinese military chiefs to familiarise themselves with Sun Tzu's writing.
Taiichi Ohno: Toyota production system
Taiichi Ohno was responsible for much of the background work and thinking that created the now widely recognised and much-copied Toyota Production System. He was eventually to become an executive vice-president of the Toyota Motor Company, but much of his early work was undertaken while he was in charge of various machining shops.
Theodore Levitt: marketing
Theodore Levitt stimulated debate within the marketing field with a landmark article 'Marketing myopia' on the importance of a pervasive marketing mindset within an organisation. The life and career of Levitt is presented and his contribution to management considered.
Tom Peters: the guru as performer
Tom Peters has probably done more than anyone else to shift the debate on management from the confines of boardrooms, academia and consultancies to a broader, worldwide audience to become the staple diet of the media and managers alike. Peter Drucker has written more and his ideas have withstood a longer test of time, but it is Peters - as consultant, writer, columnist, seminar lecturer and stage performer - whose energy, style, influence and ideas have shaped the management thinking of the 1980s and 1990s.
Victor H Vroom: motivation and leadership decision making
Professor Victor H. Vroom is acknowledged as a leading authority on the psychological analysis of behaviour in organisations. His major contributions include work on motivation in the workplace, illustrated by his expectancy model, and research into leadership styles and decisionmaking. From the latter, he and Philip Yetton developed a model for selecting appropriate methods of problem-solving for different situations.
W Edwards Deming: total quality management
W Edwards Deming (1900-1993) is widely acknowledged as the leading management thinker in the field of quality. He is credited as being the most influential catalyst of Japan's post-war economic transformation.
Warren Bennis: leadership guru
Warren Bennis's career has been extremely wide-ranging and has covered various areas. He worked as an educator, writer, administrator and consultant, and authored or co-authored many books on different topics. He has carried out highly respected work in the areas of small group dynamics, change in social systems, T-groups and sensitivity training, and during the 1960s became a recognised futurologist. Bennis wrote his first article on leadership in 1959, and he has become a widely accepted authority on the subject since 1985, when Leaders was published.