Magazine article Management Today

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Magazine article Management Today

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Article excerpt

'The views expressed by contributors and correspondents are their own,' ran the disclaimer. Looking back through the contents of 25 years it would be surprising indeed if some of those views did not now seem a bit, well, strange. Management Today contributors were no less susceptible than most other commentators to the fashions (and foibles) of the times.

Politically the magazine was an unashamed floating voter, normally steering rather to the Left of Right. Before Thatcher, contributors naturally accepted Britain's mixed economy and welfare state as inevitable.

The magazine was fairly even-handed in apportioning the blame for economic failure between government and industry. It often criticized the unions, but more often chastised management -- as a service to readers. Britain's managers, it thought, were apt to be timid and lacking in vigour and motivation.

They usually fared badly in international comparisons, seldom matching their rivals in performance or professionalism. A constant lament concerned the apparently unshakeable superiority of American management. If only Britain could reproduce the conditions -- the vast home market, the flexibility, discipline and dynamism -- that made American business so rich and invincible.... But quite early on we noticed Japan, whose challenge loomed ever larger with the passage of time. If only Britain could create the same conditions -- a strong home market, flexibility, discipline, dynamism. Europe suggested a possible way out, but the European ideal was embraced without much conviction that the EC would provide a secure bolt-hole for British industry. Too many Continentals displayed impressive flexibility, discipline and so forth.

Management techniques were an aspect of professionalism that the magazine has always tried to propagate. In the first issue we scored a big hit with the 'Three-Star Guide', which placed every technique known to management in its context and gave it a star rating AA-style. …

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