What an incredible change in the meaning of a word over nearly two centuries.
I was doing research on the Adams-Jackson presidential campaigns of 1824 and 1828. I found Jackson complaining in broadsides about Adams 'management.' Of course I was looking because the election of 1824 went to the House of Representatives where it was rigged.
‘Management’ had a strange negative connotation. Further research determined that ‘management’ two centuries ago referred to secret deceit. And in the 1828 campaign it specifically referred to Adams’ secret deal with the Speaker of the House, in 1825, to make him, Clay, Secretary of State. A position that went to Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Obama election.
So the accusation by Jackson that Adams was guilty of ‘management’ was referring to an actual secret deceitful deal.
This was in a period before the rise of modern industry. The largest organizations at the time were the Church, militaries and a few plantations.
It wasn’t until spinning and weaving mills emerged and railroads were under construction that new forms of organization were needed to generate efficient output. Large scale production didn’t come until the Civil War. It was only 20 years later, 1881, that Joseph Wharton created a school to study productivity. Joseph Wharton was a Quaker who believed strongly in ‘waste not’. His first industrial experience was in zinc metallurgy, then nickel and finally gold and iron. He was the first big shareholder in Bethlehem Steel. Early on he was a hands-on manager of his industrial operations.
The more contemporary meaning of management evolved from the point where many people had the experience of large entrepreneurial operations and the need for planning, organizing and systematizing workers.
By the early 1920’s the term management had the meaning related to organizing work. Pretty much where we use it today. Although management remains invisible and subject to a world of theories half baked and three-quarters baked.
I’ve personally investigated the teaching of ‘management’ at American graduate schools and found it wanting. In my view good managers learn directly as apprentices to good managers in a managerial environment. The only thing taught in business management schools is how to read a financial statement.