Wednesday, 25 January 2012

PhD snippet: Early management structures - A Bit of Historiography

Wilson and Thomson argued that in the railways' formative years, British railway executives ‘responded poorly’ to the challenges that these new complex organisations presented them with given there were no blueprints for their organisation.[1] Indeed, while Bonavia suggested that the structures of company boards and sub-committees, which deliberated on separate company functions, appeared early on in most railway companies,[2] the structures of management below them did not become established in most companies until the mid-1840s or 1850s.

Wilson and Thomson argued that it was the substantially larger companies that were created out of the mergers of the mid-1840s that forced executives to experiment with management structures, the most noticeable case being that of Captain Mark Huish on the London and North Western Railway (L&NWR).[3] Indeed, Hodgkins describes Sir Edward Watkin’s role in addressing managerial challenges within the L&NWR in the late 1840s and 1850s, such as the ‘advantages and disadvantages of contracting out maintenance’ and building up information systems[4]

[1] Wilson, John F. and Thomson, Andrew, The Making of Modern Management: British Management in Historical Perspective, (Oxford, 2009), p.57
[2] Bonavia, Michael, R. The Organisation of British Railways, (Shepperton, 1971), p.12
[3] Wilson, and Thomson, The Making of Modern Management, p.57
[4] Hodgkins, David, The Second Railway King: The Life and Times of Sir Edward Watkin, (Landybie, 2002), p.71-73

1 comment:

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