The Rise and Fall of Management : A Brief History of Practice, Theory and Context book cover
1st Edition

The Rise and Fall of Management
A Brief History of Practice, Theory and Context

ISBN 9781409448297
Published April 28, 2012 by Routledge
298 Pages

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Book Description

Insight into today's economic and financial problems comes, in this revealing book, from an understanding of how and why the practice and the teaching of management has developed as it has. Gordon Pearson, who has spent equal parts of his long career as a practising manager and a management educator, clarifies through rigorous historical review the difficult issues around management with which we struggle today, such as why management custom and practice so often lead to contravention of the law. Pearson reviews how management became a practice and body of understanding, the development of its crucial role in economic progress, and then how its corruption came about as a result of malign theory, leading to the dominance of the bonus payment culture and short term deal-making that plague us today. Understanding management's past, suggests Pearson, will help its improvement for the future. Contributing to that understanding, this challenging book sheds light on how management might be renewed and on the benign role it could play if freed from the restraints of inappropriate economic theory. This book is not just a history or a sociological analysis of management. It gives a broad, practically informed, critical view of the subject that will be welcomed by any reader with a professional or an academic interest in practice, theory, and context.

Table of Contents

Contents: Prologue; Part 1 The Emergence of Management: Creating the first economic surplus; An economic theory of industry and commerce; Industrialization and management responsibilities; The developing economic and political context. Part 2 The Rise of Professional Management: New world, big business and educating management; Division of management labour; Theories of management; Management in practice. Part 3 The Educated Fall of Management: Seduction by the new strategic management; Friedman and business-friendly government; Business schools versus management education. Part 4 Management for New Responsibilities: The emerging perspective. Epilogue; Bibliography; Index.

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With a first degree in management sciences from Warwick University, Gordon Pearson has carved out a distinctive position focusing on the good and bad impacts of economic and behavioural theory on the practical realities of business management. His industrial line responsibilities have included most management functions as well as general and strategic management. His specialist experience in mergers and acquisitions, were the basis of his first book, 'The Strategic Discount', a critique of accounting's short termism. He subsequently completed a Ph.D. in strategy, innovation and culture at Manchester Business School. His academic inputs, which have included heading up the Department of Management and the MBA programmes at Keele University, are mainly focused on a critical analysis of theory's impacts on practice. His related challenging blog site is at


'Gordon Pearson's new book fills an important gap. In the course of a careful and absorbing institutional history, he demolishes some of management's pervasive and damaging myths - such as the primacy of shareholder value - and restates its enduring verities. To reshape management for the future, we need to know how it developed and why. This is the place to start.' Simon Caulkin (Management Editor, The Observer) 'This book offers something that so many management texts fail to deliver - readability. With a succinct and easy to follow style, the author has produced a work, which is genuinely interesting to read. If you want to discover how management has developed over time, against a background of well-explained economic theory, this text is a must. Similarly, if you struggle to remember the key concepts upon which economic theory is built, and their relevance to business practice, this is a book well worth excellent mix of history and management practice...I particularly liked the epilogue introduced as a broad account of past progress and mistakes. But building on this, the author introduces realistic suggestions for future approaches that managers could adopt.' - Mike Turner FInstAM in e.Manager, The British Journal of Administrative Management 'This is an extremely insightful and challenging contribution to our understanding of management theory and practice. It offers a powerful and significant critique of the evolution of organizational life - one that is particularly suited to the times. Gordon Pearson’s book will make a major impact on the field and is simply a must for any management researcher’s bookshelf.' - John Hassard, Professor of Organizational Analysis, Manchester Business School Pearson has written an illuminating and readable account of the practice, theory and context of management: a lively and provocative book that will make the reader question and rethink the ethos and morality of free market capitalism