Management and Daniel A. Wren

Topics: Management, Administration, Public administration theory Pages: 30 (11014 words) Published: June 14, 2013
The foundations of Henri Fayol's administrative theory

Daniel A. Wren David Ross Boyd Professor Emeritus and Curator, Harry W. Bass Business History Collection, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA Arthur G. Bedeian Boyd Professor, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA John D. Breeze Independent Scholar and Business Owner/Manager, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Keywords Abstract

Management theory, History

Among modern scholars and students there is an increasing distance between the fundamental thoughts of early management writers and contemporary, often secondary, accounts of how these pioneers developed their ideas. This shortcoming can be remedied by seeking original sources from when a pioneer's ideas were being formulated and from the context within which this occurred. We examine examples of how others have furthered our understanding of management history by the discovery and translation of pioneering writings and present a rare, out-of-print translation and a previously untranslated and unpublished presentation from the French pioneer, Henri Fayol. These presentations to his colleagues in the mineral industry reveal Fayol's early reflections as they would later evolve into his classical book, Administration Industrielle et Ge Ârale. Âne

Management Decision 40/9 [2002] 906±918 # MCB UP Limited [ISSN 0025-1747] [DOI 10.1108/00251740210441108]

As management historians, we are seldom able to trace the formative thinking of our field's major contributors, especially its founders. McMahon and Carr (1999, p. 228) noted the ``increasing distance between students and scholars of today and the early writers in the development of management thought . . . The current generation of students are reading less of the actual writings of the early scholars and more what those writing current texts are attributing to [them].'' At best, by examining contemporary accounts, or in the limited instances where autobiographies exist, we can attempt to discern the incipient antecedents and inchoate reasoning giving rise to the later development of more polished thoughts (Bedeian, 1992; Carson and Carson, 1998). In this way, we may strive to gain a more complete understanding of our own intellectual heritage as it has been shaped by the experiences, reflections, and study of those who have gone before us, as well as continue to learn from the past as it informs the present (Bedeian, 1998). There are precedents that indicate how the discovery, translation, and/or reprinting of early writings have informed the present. We would still be in the dark about what really happened at the Hawthorne Plant of Western Electric without the seminal works of Wrege (1961) and Greenwood et al. (1983). Max Weber's (1922) turgid Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft was published posthumously and did not reach an English-reading audience until Gerth and Wright Mills' translation of Weber's theory of bureaucracy (Weber, 1946) and later, Henderson and Parsons' rendering of his theory of economics and society (Weber, 1947). Eberly and Smith's (1970) discovery of a heretofore unpublished speech by Mary Parker Follett enabled us to appreciate her concern with educational as well as business The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at

and public administration (Follett, 1970). Wrege's (1995) publication of a stenographer's notes of one of Frederick W. Taylor's ``Boxly talks'' provided material that Taylor presented to his audiences, as well as an early mention of Henry Noll, who became the famous ``Schmidt'' of the pig-iron handling studies. A 1998 reprint in the International Journal of Public Administration of Papers on the Science of Administration, edited by Gulick and Urwick (1937), enabled scholars to have access to a long out-of-print collection of papers by Luther Gulick, Lyndall Urwick, James D. Mooney, Henri Fayol, Henry S. Dennison, L. J. Henderson, T. N....

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Daniel A. Wren, Authur G. Bedeian and John D. Breeze The foundations of Henri Fayol 's administrative theory Management Decision 40/9 [2002] 906±918
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