Management theories, such as scientific management and human relations, have traditionally assumed that organizational success can be achieved through the application of science. This assumption is part of a broader belief in social and natural science as the central vehicle for objective knowledge and social betterment, which was cogently expressed in the nineteenth century by Auguste Comte and termed positivism. In this article, the authors trace the relationship between the thought of Comte, his contemporary John Stuart Mill, and twentieth-century management theory, focusing on how value differences and similarities evident more than a century ago have persisted to the present. The authors then propose a typology that classifies these value issues along two major dimensions: uniformity versus diversity and economics versus culture. This typology clarifies the value commitments, explicit or implicit, underlying management theory and practice.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Psychology