Management has evolved in America over the last 60 years. In the 20th
century, business schools perceived their human capital (the people working
in the company) merely as tools to make widgets on the production
assembly line. Business schools even viewed themselves as trade schools.
By the middle of the 20th century, their worldview changed. Business schools began to stop perceiving a business organization as a piece of
equipment, and human capital as mechanical instruments. Th e metaphor
was replaced by a transformation through strategic thinking.
By the 1970s, senior executives realized the importance of strategy
in business—the science and art of developing a plan to reach a goal. By
the 1980s, the focus of business was the quality movement of effi ciency
and eff ectiveness.1 Th ose were very lucrative years in the business world,
and consequently there was resistance to change, because businesses were
In the past, times of change in organizations were followed by times
of stability, allowing the organizations to assimilate the change until the
next change was introduced. Because of the introduction of technological
change, times of stability have gotten shorter and shorter. By the 1990s,
the business world was forced to be open to change. Business executives
moved their companies forward and innovation initiatives became the
Th e late 20th-century business school viewed itself as an academic
research institution.2 Ironically, there was a time that business organizations
had no use for PhDs. University researchers were perceived as
only useful for academic institutions. But in the late 20th century, business
organizations started hiring PhDs to do research and development
(R&D), because it was more advantageous to have them at their disposal
full time than to hire them as consultants. Companies saw the value in
research for business.
Just because innovation in organizations is 1% inspiration and 99%
perspiration, it does not mean a person cannot have fun while inspired
and perspiring. In fact, “productive fun” has always helped me enjoy
work. If someone is going to spend at least eight hours a day working, it
should be fulfi lling and rewarding.
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