How has the Enlightenment influenced management thought? To begin the essay I will briefly talk about what the Enlightenment era was. I will then explain pre-Enlightenment management thought. Subsequently, I will discuss how the Enlightenment transformed management thought and how that has directly affected modern management in today’s world referring to readings that have been prescribed in this module. I will then conclude my essay summarising my main points on how the Enlightenment era influenced management thought. The Enlightenment was where individualism and emphasising reason prospered over tradition. It began in the late 17th century but thrived in the 18th century when people, as the German philosopher Immanuel Kant described, “daring to know, in having courage to use ones reason rather than rely upon the authority of others.” (Immanuel Kant, Answering the Question: What is Enlightenment 1784) The purpose of the Enlightenment was to challenge the ideas and traditions that were rooted into society by the hierarchy in society. It led to several reforms within society and structures such as the right to express your opinion without penalties, the right to vote for who governed you, the right to have a fair trial and to have equal opportunity. These values and traits from the Enlightenment can be directly seen in today’s management systems and organisations in the ‘Western World’. Within organisations and society the feudal system was the most common structure used to preserve order and maintain control in the centuries previous to the Enlightenment era. It consisted of a hierarchy at the top, usually a king, followed dukes, knights and landowners and at the bottom was the peasantry class. There was little freedom or independence and as Robert Harbison describes it as “a body of institutions used to create and enforce the ties of dependence.” (Robert Harbison, The Problem of Feudalism: An Historiographical Essay, 1996) There was a thought that these...
References: 1. Immanuel Kant, Answering the Question: What is Enlightenment 1784
2. Robert Harbison, The Problem of Feudalism: An Historiographical Essay, 1996
3. Violona Rindova, Ancient Chinese Theories of Control 1997)
4. Koenig, Philip C. and Waters, Robert C. (2002) 'Adam Smith on Management ', Business & Society Review
5. Wren, Daniel A. (2011) 'The Centennial of Frederick W. Taylor 's the Principles of Scientific Management: A Retrospective Commentary '
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