This paper argues that the concept of management is a key concept in the social and political vocabulary of modern western countries. Relying on Koselleck's criteria for selection of key social and political concepts that he originally put forth in the introduction to Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe (GG1:p.XIV), it is argued that the concept of management fulfils four out of Kosellecks six criteria. Now, on the premise that management is indeed a key social and political concept, the paper briefly outlines some of the possible methodological strengths of conceptual history applied to the field of the history of management. In particular, I argue that a history of the management concept could provide new insights concerning: (1) first, the ability of the concept of management to connect or ‘couple' with other forms of knowledge, understanding and practice, and the ability of the concept of management to ‘travel' into other spheres of society than the original business or industrial setting; (2) and, second, a history of the management concept could provide new insights concerning the temporality of management. Furthermore, it is suggested that the history of the concept of management could have corrective purposes towards current history of management thought and history of management rhetoric. These are all good reasons for studying the history of the management concept. However, at the end of the paper I shall briefly mention some of my reservations towards conceptual history as a research strategy in this field. Since the purpose of the paper is mainly explorative, some of its arguments are rather sketchy.
Management, ledelse, organisation, begrebshistorie, idéhistorie; management, leadership, organization, conceptual history, history of ideas
Main Research Area:
Transcending Concepts: The History of Experiences, Interpretations, and Argumentation, 2008