Management theories are inextricably entwined with politics and great economic and social events but it is not always easy to see how they might be connected to each other.

This list is an attempt to help you relate the key works from some of the great and most enduring management writers to UK and world events through the 20th and into the 21st centuries.

For authors I’ve picked their first major book, or in some cases their seminal work. Sometimes it’s a rather arbitrary choice. Trying to pick, for example, which was Peter Drucker’s or Charles Handy’s most important work could open a lifetime of debate, and in some cases it can be many years after publication before a book gains fame or influence anyway.

Book titles have bullet points and are shown under the year they were first published, so you can scan down the page to find them. World and business milestones are shown in bold, changes in governments and leaders do not have bullets and are set in Roamn type (ie not bold).

Inevitably a lot has had to be omitted, but I hope giving some historical context will help you form a judgement on the validity of management theories to today’s world.


19th Century


  • 1848 The Communist Manifesto, Marx, Karl and Engels, Friedrich
  • 1867 Das Kapital, Marx, Karl

20th Century


1901-1910 King Edward VII

1901 Theodore Roosevelt becomes President of the United States of America [Republican]

1902 Arthur Balfour becomes Prime Minister [Conservative] (heading a Conservative-Liberal Unionist government)

1905 Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman becomes Prime Minister [Liberal]

1908 Herbert Henry Asquith becomes Prime Minister [Liberal]

1908 Old Age Pensions Act and other major Welfare reforms

1908 Harvard Business School started (1910 received independent status, 1913 became a separate administrative unit)

1909 William Howard Taft becomes President of the United States of America [Republican]

1911 Sales Managers’ Association founded (1921 becoming ISMA, 1960 Institute of Marketing and Sales Management, 1989 Chartered Institute of Marketing)

1912 Republic of China established

1913 Woodrow Wilson becomes President of the United States of America [Democrat]


1910- 1936 King George V

1914-18

First World War

1915 Herbert Henry Asquith becomes Prime Minister [Liberal] (heading Liberal-Conservative-Labour government)

1916 David Lloyd George become Prime Minister [Liberal] (heading Liberal-Conservative-Labour government)

1917 Russian Revolution

1917 Vladimir Lenin becomes leader of the Soviet Union [Note 1]

1918 End of First World War


1918 (February) Representation of the People Act granted voting to some women

1918 (November) Eligibility of Women Act allowing women to be elected to Parliament

1920 League of Nations established

1921 Warren G Harding becomes President of the United States of America [Republican]

1922 Andrew Bonar-Law becomes Prime Minister [Conservative]

1923 Stanley Baldwin becomes Prime Minister [Conservative]

1923 Calvin Coolidge becomes President of the United States of America [Republican]

1924 Death of Lenin. Josef Stalin as General Secretary of the Communist Party starts the process to become effective leader of the Soviet Union by the late 1920s [Note 1]

1924 Ramsay MacDonald becomes Prime Minister [Labour]

1924 Stanley Baldwin becomes Prime Minister [Conservative]

1926 General Strike (Britain)

1928 Representation of the People Act granted voting to women on the same terms as men

1929 Herbert Hoover becomes President of the United States of America [Republican]

1929 Ramsay MacDonald becomes Prime Minister [Labour] (heading a minority Labour government)

1929 Wall Street Crash and beginning of 1930s Great Depression

  • 1930 The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Weber, Max

1931 Ramsay MacDonald becomes Prime Minister [Labour] (heading a National Labour government with the support of Conservatives and Liberals. Ramsay MacDonald was expelled from the Labour Party)

1933 Adolf Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany

1933 Franklin D Roosevelt becomes President of the United States of America [Democrat]

  • 1933 The Human Problems of an Industrial Civilisation, Mayo, Elton

1935 Stanley Baldwin becomes Prime Minister [Conservative] (heading a Conservative led National Government with the support of National Labour and Liberals)

  • 1936 The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, Keynes, John Maynard

1936-36 King Edward VIII

1936 Abdication of King Edward VIII

1936 Alan Turing sets out proposal for first computer


 1936-52 King George VI

1937 Neville Chamberlain becomes Prime Minister [Conservative] (heading a Conservative led National Government with the support of National Labour and Liberals)

  • 1938 The Functions of the Executive, Barnard, Chester

1939-45

Second World War

1940 Winston Churchill becomes Prime Minister [Conservative] (heading an all-party National Government until 1945. In 1945 Churchill headed a caretaker government without Labour until the 1945 General Election)

  • 1941 Joseph M Juran sets out the Pareto Principle (80-20 rule)
  • 1944 The Road to Serfdom, Hayek, Friedrich

1945 Harry S Truman becomes President of the United States of America [Democrat]

1945 End of Second World War


1945 Clement Attlee becomes Prime Minister [Labour]

1945 United Nations established

1946 Beginning of the Cold War (approx 1946-1990 though dates are not exact)

  • 1946 Concept of the Corporation, Drucker, Peter
  • 1947 Scientific Management, Taylor, F W

1948 National Health Service (NHS) established

1948 Institute for Public Relations founded (became Chartered Institute for Public Relations in 2005)

1949 People’s Republic of China established under Chairman Mao Zedong

  • 1949 General and Industrial Management, Fayol, Henri

1951 Winston Churchill becomes Prime Minister [Conservative]

  • 1951 The Changing Culture of a Factory, Jaques, Elliott
  • 1951 Quality Control Handbook, Juran, Joseph M

1952-Present Queen Elizabeth II

1953 Dwight D Eisenhower becomes President of the United States of America [Republican]

1953 On Stalin’s death Georgy Malenkov inherits his titles but is caught in a power struggle with Nikita Krushchev [Note 1]

1955 Nikita Krushchev becomes leader of the Soviet Union  [Note 1]

1955 Sir Anthony Eden becomes Prime Minister [Conservative]

1957 European Economic Community or ‘Common Market’ formed (under Treaty of Rome)

1957 Harold McMillan become Prime Minister [Conservative]

1957 First satellite, Sputnik 1, launched by USSR

  • 1957 Personality and Organisation, Argyris, Chris
  • 1959 The Motivation to Work, Herzberg, Frederick
  • 1960 Marketing Myopia, Levitt, Theodore
  • 1960 The Human Side of Enterprise, McGregor, Douglas

1961 John F Kennedy becomes President of the United States of America [Democrat]

  • 1961 New Patterns of Management, Likert, Rensis

1961 Advertising Association established the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP)

  • 1962 Strategy and Structure, Chandler, Alfred

1962 Advertising Standards Authority set up

1963 Sir Alec Douglas-Home becomes Prime Minister [Conservative]

1963 Lyndon B Johnson becomes President of the United States of America [Democrat]

  • 1963 A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960, Friedman, Milton and Schwartz, Anna J
  • 1963 My Years With General Motors, Sloan, Alfred P

1964 Harold Wilson becomes Prime Minister [Labour]

1964 Leonid Brezhnev becomes leader of the Soviet Union [Note 1]

  • 1965 Corporate Strategy, Ansoff, H Igor
  • 1966 The Theory of Practice in Management, Revans, Reg
  • 1967 The Use of Lateral Thinking, De Bono, Edward
  • 1968 The Temporary Society, Bennis, Warren

1969 Richard Nixon becomes President of the United States of America [Republican]

1969 First man on the moon

  • 1969 The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong, Peter, Laurence J and Hull, Raymond

1970 Edward Heath becomes Prime Minister [Conservative]

  • 1970 Motivation and Personality, Maslow, Abraham
  • 1971 Management by Objectives, Humble, John

1973 UK joins European Economic Community

1973 First mobile phone demonstrated

  • 1973 The Nature of Managerial Work, Mintzberg, Henry
  • 1973 Small Is Beautiful, Schumacher, E F

1974 Harold Wilson becomes Prime Minister [Labour] (heading a minority Labour government until his resignation, without an election, in 1976)

1974 Gerald Ford becomes President of the United States of America [Republican]

1976 James Callaghan becomes Prime Minister [Labour] (heading a minority Labour government with support from the Liberal Party under the Lib-Lab Pact)

1976 Death of Chairman Mao Zedong in China and rise to power of Deng Xiaoping, becoming ‘paramount leader’ by 1976

  • 1976 Understanding Organisations, Handy, Charles

1977 Jimmy Carter becomes President of the United States of America [Democrat]

  • 1977 Men and Women of the Corporation, Kanter, Rosabeth Moss
  • 1978 Career Dynamics: Matching Individual and Organisational Needs, Schein, Edgar H

1979 Margaret Thatcher becomes Prime Minister [Conservative].

1980s Start of major privatisation programmes and reforms of employment and trade union laws

  • 1980 Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analysing Industries and Competitors, Porter, Michael

1981 Ronald Reagan becomes President of the United States of America [Republican]

1981 British Social Democratic Party (SDP) formed as a break-away from the Labour Party and goes on in 1988 to merge with the Liberal Party to form the Liberal Democrats

  • 1981 The Art of Japanese Management Pascale, Richard T

1982 Adobe Systems founded

1982 Yuri Andropov becomes leader of the Soviet Union [Note 1]

  • 1982 The Mind of the Strategist, Ohmae, Kenichi
  • 1982 Quality, Productivity and Competitive Position, Deming, W Edwards
  • 1982 In Search of Excellence, Peters, Tom and Waterman, Robert H Jnr
  • 1982 Japanese Manufacturing Techniques Schonberger, Richard J

1983 First mobile phone commercially available

  • 1983 Effective Leadership, Adair, John

1984 First Apple Macintosh launched

1984 Konstantin Chernenko becomes leader of the Soviet Union [Note 1]

1984-85 UK miners’ strike

1985 Michael Gorbachev becomes leader of the Soviet Union [Note 1]

1985 Microsoft Windows launched

1987 Institute of Direct Marketing (IDM) founded (later renamed Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing)

1988 Microsoft announces first Office software

1989 Iron Curtain breached (May) leading to (9 November) fall of the Berlin Wall

1989 George H W Bush becomes President of the United States of America [Republican]

1989 (March) (Sir) Tim Berners-Lee writes worldwide web proposal

1990 (October) German reunification

1990 John Major becomes Prime Minister [Conservative]

1991 (12 June) Boris Yeltsin elected President of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (still part of the Soviet Union)

1991 (25 December) Michael Gorbachev resigns as leader (President) of the Soviet Union [Note 1]

1991 (26 December) The Soviet Union is formally dissolved, making Boris Yeltsin President of the Russian Federation

1992 (16 September) ‘Black Wednesday’ — pound sterling forced from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM)

  • 1992 The Balanced Scorecard: Measures that Drive Performance, Kaplan, Robert and Norton, David

1993 Bill Clinton becomes President of the United States of America [Democrat]

1993 UK Independence Party (UKIP) formed

1993 European Economic Community becomes European Community (under the Maastricht Treaty) as one of the three pillars of the European Union

1997 Tony Blair becomes Prime Minister [Labour] (Tony Blair rebranded Labour to ‘New Labour’)

1997 Hong Kong reverts to Chinese rule as the first Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China

1997 First use of the term ‘smartphone’

1998 Google founded (incorporated)

1999 Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly established

1999 Vladimir Putin becomes President of the Russian Federation

  • 1999 Permission Marketing, Godin, Seth

21st Century


2001 George W Bush becomes President of the United States of America [Republican]

2001 (11 September) Twin Towers New York bombed (9/11)

2001 China joins the World Trade Organisation

2002 Most EU countries adopt the Euro as their currency

2003 WordPress released

2003 LinkedIn launched

2004 Facebook launched

2006 Twitter launched

2007 Gordon Brown becomes Prime Minister [Labour]

2007 US subprime mortgage crisis and beginning of ‘The Great Recession’

2008 Dmitry Medvedev becomes President of the Russian Federation

2009 European Union subsumes the three pillars of the previous European Union of the European Community, the Common Foreign and Security Policy and Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters

2009 Barack Obama becomes President of the United States of America [Democrat]

2010 Surge in popularity of tablet computers starts

2010 David Cameron becomes Prime Minister [Conservative] (heading a Conservative-Liberal Democratic Party coalition)

2010 Arab Spring revolutions across the Middle East start

2012 Vladimir Putin becomes President of the Russian Federation

2014 Scottish independence referendum, Scotland votes to remain in the UK

2015 UK General Election due


Contemporary management gurus

The 50 Most Influential Management Gurus

The Harvard Business Review publishes details of its list of the 50 most influential management gurus, most of whom are still actively writing and a few of whom are also listed above.


Notes

Note 1: There have been constant changes of title of the effective leader of the Soviet Union, the term ‘leader’ has therefore been used to describe the effective political and executive head of government, who has usually been the General Secretary of the Communist Party even though at times the formal title of head of government has been assigned to others. There have also been power struggles between various posts making exact dates of transfer of power to be the subject of some debate and a ‘troika’ system where, nominally at least, power was shared between three posts.


References

Wikipedia

Various pages including: