The Rise and Fall of Management
© Gordon Pearson 2009, Gower Applied Business Research, Paperback edition 2012 ISBN 978 1 4094 4829 7
This is the critical management classic for today. The Rise and Fall of Management provides an authoritative account of the practice and theory of management and how it developed as a coherent body of knowledge and understanding. It examines management’s fall from its early professional ideals, independent of both capital and labour, largely as a result of the almost universal adoption of inadequate economic theory. From the early days of management as an autonomous discipline, the text examines management’s responsibility to achieve some balance between the sustainable interests of the various stakeholders, including the world we bequeath to future generations.
Gordon Pearson, who has spent equal parts of his long career as a practising manager and a management educator, provides an independent, non-ideological analysis of the problematic issues surrounding management which still confront us today. For example, the custom and practice of business, greatly influenced by neoclassical economic abstractions, is shown often to be in contravention of the law. The text reviews feasible resolution in these problem areas, offering a pragmatic assessment of options.
Pearson provides a broad, practically informed, critical view of the subject that will be welcomed by any reader with a professional or academic interest in the practice, theory and context of contemporary management.
Simon Caulkin, former Management Editor of The Observer: ‘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. To reshape management for the future, we need to know how it developed and why. This is the place to start.’
John Hassard, Professor of Organizational Analysis, Manchester Business School ‘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.
Mihaela Kelemen, Professor of Management Studies, Keele University: a lively and provocative book that will make the reader question and rethink the ethos and morality of free market capitalism.
Martin Parker, Professor of Organisation and Culture, Warwick Business School: In this very readable book, Gordon Pearson reflects on his extensive practical and academic experience to explain what the problem is, and what can be done about it. This is a really provocative read for anyone who wants to understand what has gone wrong in the Business School, and the boardroom.’
E-Manager Book Review by Mike Turner, FInstAM: 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 reading.
Management is discussed as an evolving process in the context of social and political developments. The result is an excellent mix of history and management practice.
Throughout the book, the author keeps in focus the practicalities of implementation. Stressing ‘implementation’ as the key to successful management keeps the book firmly based on day-to-day needs.
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.