The Collapse of the American Management Mystique

Locke, Robert R.

This is a book on the history and "mystique" of American management--its development and diffusion to other countries, and its subsequent eclipse by Japanese and German approaches. In this work, Robert Locke traces the evolution of American management in the postwar era--the phenomenon once described by Churchill as that "clear cut, logical, mass production style of thought." He goes on to discuss in detail the views of such business writers as Chandler, Reich, Senge, and Deming. But the force of his critique rests on a thorough examination of alternative forms of management that grew up in West Germany and Japan during the past decades. He argues that these alternative management forms have done a better job managing capitalist economies since the 1970s than has American managerialism. With an unusually wide-ranging knowledge of management and business thinking in the United States, Germany, and Japan, and the historian's ability to stand back and take the longer view, Locke has written a powerfully argued and challenging book. Editorial Reviews From the Publisher "Not only thought-provoking and challenging but also quite credible and well written....Sometimes it takes an outsider (nonmanagement person) to deeply probe and shed new light on a topic. With its detailed notes and long bibliography, this book is highly recommended for professionals, academics, and advanced students of management."--Choice "Robert Locke has written a readable and informative story about American managerial hubris which still has many chapters to run...One wonders what lessons there are in all of this for Britain."--Richard Giordano, Financial Times "It's a challenging book which invites the reader to re-evaluate American managerial experience and to do so using the yardstick provided by successful foreign alternatives. Not an easy read but well worth the effort."--The Herald (Glasgow)

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