Spring 2011: JOS 11 – History of Organisational and Management Theories (University of Helsinki / Department of Political and Economic Studies)

(JOS 11: Johtamisopit Suomessa: Taylorismista innovaatioteorioihin)


Lecture-based course.

Working Methods and Assessment

Lectures (attendance and participation), small-group work  and essay (for 2 credits: 4-5 page essay, for 4 credits: 12-15 page essay). Topic for small-group work: Future construction of management paradigms, based on scenarios constructed by EVA (Finnish Business and Policy Forum).

Course Description, Objectives and Learning Outcomes

The aim of this course is to explore the most central management paradigms of the 20th and early 21st centuries, namely scientific management, the human relations school, the structural analysis paradigm/ strategic management, and cultural theories. The course covers the factors affecting the origin and use of these management paradigms. During the lectures, we discuss some of the key theorists and concepts behind these managerial paradigms. We also look at the impact of different paradigms on the theory and practice of management. The course considers the adoption of management paradigms from both the international and the Finnish perspective (as these are glocalised in Finland), since the rise and prevalence of paradigms varies in different countries, e.g. with different economic, political and institutional premises. The glocalisation/adoption of management paradigms in Finland is examined empirically, for example in higher management education, in scientific research, in selected scientific and general journal articles, in government programmes, and in annual reports from basic industry. Understanding the history of management is important because it gives us a perspective on what is new in today’s management and what is just the old in a new rhetorical dress.

Behind different theories of management are the people who have created these theories as part of their own life stories. The course introduces the backgrounds of the theorists behind the management paradigms discussed, together with their key concepts, and their legacy in the development of management. Also the Finnish pioneers of management paradigms are introduced and discussed, as well as, in the case of some paradigms, the obvious lack of such pioneers and proponents and the possible reasons for this. Management paradigms are closely linked to their times and how they reflect  social development and transitions. They can be seen as offering new ways of organizing business life and work communities. For this reason, the course also touches upon the social conditions under which the various theories arose and prevailed.

Course Contents

Each lecture introduces one management paradigm in detail, by describing the origin of the theory, its central pioneers, proponents and opponents, the adoption/glocalisation of the theory in Finland, some of its impacts on organizational and management theory and its current applications.


1. Introductory lecture

  • Introduction to themes of course
  • Definition and presentation of basic concepts: management, management paradigm, organization
  • Perspectives on the spread and adoption of management theories
  • History of industrialization and development of management theories


2. Scientific management

  • Birth of scientific management
  • Key people
  • Adoption /glocalisation of theories of scientific management in Finland
  • Finland in an international comparison of theory adoption
  • The impact of scientific management  on organization and management  theory
  • Modern applications of the paradigm
  • From scientific business management to the human relations school

3. The human relations school

  • Origin and formation of the human relations school
  • Hawthorne studies
  • Key people
  • Socio-technical systems
  • The human relations school in Finland
  • The human relations school in various countries: adoption of theories in international comparison
  • Effects of the human relations school on organizational theory
  • Modern applications of the paradigm
  • From the human relations paradigm to the structural analysis paradigm


4. The structural analysis paradigm and strategic management

  • Origin
  • Key people
  • Key concepts and starting points: the contingency approach
  • The structural analysis paradigm in Finland
  • The structural analysis paradigm in various countries: the adoption of theories in international comparison
  • Adoption of structural theories in various countries
  • Effects on organizational theory
  • Current applications of the structural analysis paradigm
  • From structural analysis to cultural theories

5. Organizational culture theories

  • Origins: academics and pragmatists
  • The has-perspective and the is-perspective
  • Key people
  • Organizational culture theories in Finland
  • Adoption of cultural theories in different countries
  • Effects on organizational theory
  • Communication and cultural theories
  • Cultural theories today
  • From organizational culture theories to innovation theories

6. Innovation theories, market rationalism, wellbeing management

  • Origin and definitions of innovation, innovativeness and creativity
  • Problems to which innovation theories provide answers
  • Preconditions for innovation at the individual and task level, group / team level, and organizational level
  • Major theorists
  • Innovation theories in Finland
  • Communication and innovation theories
  • Effects of innovation theories on organizational theory
  • The next paradigm? Market rationalism? Wellbeing Management?

7. Teamwork: scenario exercise


ESSAY. 2 credits: 4-5 pages; 4 credits: 12-15 pages
Write using Times New Roman (font size 12), double spacing, and Word’s default margins. Please number the pages of your essay and include your name and student number on each page. Remember to use references properly (if necessary, refer to university / faculty instructions).

Write an essay on one of the following topics:

1. What is the prevailing conceptualization of employee, manager, and management in the management paradigms introduced in this course: scientific management, human relations school, structural theories, cultural theories, and innovation theories?


2. How does the adoption and glocalisation of the management paradigms in Finland compare with their adoption and glocalisation in other countries?

The essay should be submitted at latest in time for the last lecture.

Link to the course outline (in Finnish)

Course material:


Teollistumisen historiaa

Tieteellinen liikkeenjohto