These functions are valid, and it’s useful to step back and explore where they originated.
Going back in history, we can see the first stirrings of what we call management quite early. Such enormous projects as the building of the pyramids or the construction of the Roman aqueducts required workers of varying degrees of skills to supply the actual labor. That labor was overseen by people who ensured that productivity was high.
The gains made in “management” in ancient Europe and Asia were countered by setbacks during the Middle Ages. There were no societies like the Roman or Egyptian empires to oversee the creation or completion of great undertakings. The economy was more centered on individual activity.
Until relatively recently, in fact, production was primarily a local activity; craftspeople and artisans produced goods on a small scale. The individual owner/artisan completely controlled production—manufacturing, selling, repairing, and creating new products. Various aspects of the production process might be delegated, usually to family members. Artisans trained others to produce by taking on apprentices; often, apprenticeships were handed down from generation to generation in the same family. The artisan served as a sort of “guidance worker” to the apprentice.
Are there “guidance workers” in your company?Beginning in the late 18th century, when social, political, economic, and technological changes heralded the Industrial Revolution, the concept of management as we know it today started taking shape. The Industrial Revolution spurred on the now common practice of division of labor, thanks in part to the invention of machines that could do the most onerous and time-consuming tasks. As a result, workers became specialized, often in single, simple and easy-to-learn tasks. This increased the distance between the apprentice and the guidance worker. One negative side effect of this was that the individual worker lost the opportunity to be involved with the complete production process. This created the need for more experienced workers (often who had been given the more traditional apprenticeship training) to lead and oversee the production. A positive side effect of this arrangement was that production increased, sometimes dramatically. The combination of increased mechanization and increased capacity to produce meant that more raw materials were needed (never mind the new machines). The results? Manufacturers needed more capital. Because the volume of capital was so much larger, it became clear that people would be needed to manage the financial aspects of the business. Eventually, management became an essential component in planning, organization, and controlling.
In many countries the bureaucracy had (and still has) a strong influence on the development of systematic management in developing large-scale enterprises. To their credit, bureaucracies can ease the expansion of the enterprises and also ensure the economic growth of the country. One could say that bureaucracies act as “owners” just as in traditional companies, and as such they need managers to keep things running efficiently.
As the relationship between “owners” and “managers” emerged, forward-thinking owners realized that they needed to find managers. At first, they looked to the family for their leaders (many companies still do this to varying degrees), but it became increasingly clear that the best way to succeed was to hire the most competent people to do the job.
Tags: 18th century ancient europe apprentice apprentices apprenticeship training artisan artisans bureaucracies bureaucracy capital controlling. craftspeople division of labor economic growth employment guidance essential component family members financial aspects generation to generation guidance industrial revolution invention job management management functions management theory manager managers manufacturers mechanization middle ages negative side effect organization owners planning planning organization productivity pyramids raw materials relationship roman aqueducts scale enterprises setbacks stirrings systematic management taking shape technological changes traditional traditional apprenticeship traditional management training undertakings