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Friday, July 20, 2012

Management History | Two Significant Historical Events in Management

Which two historical events were especially significant to the study of management? Describe these events and discuss how they helped develop the management profession.

Two historical events are especially significant to the study of management. 

  • First, in 1776, Adam Smith published The Wealth of Nations, in which he argued the economic advantages that organizations and society would gain from the division of labor (or job specialization). The division of labor involved the breakdown of jobs into narrow and repetitive tasks. Smith's work showed that division of labor increased productivity by increasing each worker's skill and dexterity. It also saved time lost in changing tasks, and it encouraged the development of labor-saving inventions and machinery. Division of labor continues to be popular as a principle for managing work.
  • The second important event is the Industrial Revolution, which started in the late eighteenth century. During the Industrial Revolution, machine power was substituted for human power. This made it more economical to manufacture goods in factories rather than at home. The shift to factory work increased the need for management professionals. Large efficient factories needed managers to forecast demand and to ensure that enough material was on hand to make products. Managers were also needed to assign tasks to people and to direct daily activities. The increase in managers in turn necessitated the development of formal theories to guide managers in running large organizations.

Management, 10e (Robbins/Coulter)


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