It is said that management principles can be traced back as far as 5000 years, which has provided considerable amount of time to refine and develop these principles into efficient and successful ideologies. Throughout history, management practise has evolved thanks to a number of pioneers who have veered away from the norm to revolutionise views on what it means to be a good and efficacious manager. Both Robert Owen and Richard Branson can be seen as frontrunners of their time, performing feats in the realm of management that nobody before them would have dared to have even considered. Robert_Owen
Robert Owen was born in Newtown in Wales, United Kingdom. During his life he managed to improve well-being, education and rights of the working class. His driving ambition to create a better society made him a successful manufacturer and an important pioneer of Modern Management.
"The most important experiment for the happiness of the human race that has yet been instituted in any part of the world"1 [Owen, 1801] started when Robert Owen bought the New Lanark Mills in 1801. Under his management the New Lanark became a model community which was driving towards prosperity and making progress through the new technology. He was considered a kind man, who treated his employees very well. Owen highlighted the importance of education; he believed that knowledge is a useful skill that could release working class children from hunger and poverty. Thus New Lanark was the first place in the world that had an Infant School. This allowed parents to keep on working and created the opportunity for wider education provision, including evening classes for workers. He also introduced better working conditions for children; children under ten were not allowed to work in the village and no children were allowed to work for longer than 10 hours a day. Moreover he raised the minimum wage for child labour, raised wages for adults, reduced working hours and provided all the employees with free medical care. Robert Owen always kept proper business records; these included daily and weekly measurement of productivity, output and stocks. A novel technique was used to control the employees; multicolored pieces of wood hung beside every worker. Each color indicated the previous day's quality of work. Everyone around was able to see this measure of employees performance, this piece of wood works as a good motivator towards quality performance, as people did not want to be embarrassed by everyone being able to see that they had worked to a poor standard.
Even though Robert Owen had no formal university education his progressive moral views and entrepreneurial skills made his contribution to the modern management theory inestimable.
"What ideas individuals may attach to the term "Millennium" I know not; but I know that society may be formed so as to exist without crime, without poverty, with health greatly improved, with little, if any misery, and with intelligence and happiness increased a hundredfold; and no obstacle whatsoever intervenes at this moment except ignorance to prevent such a state of society from becoming universal.”2[Owen, 1816] Sir Richard Branson
Sir Richard Branson was born in Blackheath, London in 1950. He studied at Stowe school and throughout his childhood struggled with dyslexia, and failed to do well at school, but by the age of 16, after dropping out of school, and a few failed attempts at selling Christmas trees and budgerigars, he had already taken his first steps to becoming a successful pioneer when he launched a magazine called ‘Student’ 3[Ahmed, 2011], which ran articles about prominent politicians, famous rock stars and different celebrities of the time. This turned out to just be the start of a successful entrepreneurial career, and he has now founded ‘Virgin Group Ltd.’ which consists of more than 400 companies, ranging from airlines to mobile phone networks, employing over 50,000 people. Having started as a...
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