BBL’s Current Featured Display – Classic Management Literature…A Look Back in Time

Glenda Lowndes, Reference Assistant, Bronfman Business Library

Published Friday November 15th, 2013

Stickman hanging from the big hand between 9 and 10

Managers are essential to every organization, big or small; they are what keep organizations running smoothly. They oversee, direct and motivate staff to carry out their duties and responsibilities in order to meet organizational objectives. This is why it is very important that managers get the proper training and education needed to assist in the overall success of an organization. Therefore, advancing our knowledge in this area can be helpful in learning about the different management techniques, models and theory’s that have been in practise over time.

While management as a concept might be argued to have existed for centuries (e.g. ancient military texts with management lessons, such as “The Art of War” by 6th century BCE Chinese military general and strategist Sun Tzu in or books such as “The Prince” by Machiavelli written in the 16th century), it is really only in the 1900s that we began to see scientific management theory emerge through the work of Frederick W. Taylor, Henry L. Gantt and Frank and Lillian Gilbreth (George, 1972). Much of the early literature on management is still considered very prominent in today’s society and continues to be practiced. Two of the most influential management thinkers are Henry Mintzberg and Peter Drucker. In 1973, Henry Mintzberg published his book “The Nature of Managerial Work”, which examined how five managers performed their everyday roles and responsibilities and categorized their actions into ten management roles. Although, it was first published in 1973, it is still one of the most important resources used in management research and education (Tengblad, 2006). Peter Drucker, 1954’s “The Practice of Management” is the first book that covers the subject of management entirely and treats the act of being a manager as a separate obligation (Zahra, 2003). It is still actively used in current management practice and for educational purposes.

At Bronfman Business Library, we are celebrating the many educators and scholars that have written about management research throughout the years. We have set up a display in the Carol Anne Letheran Fireplace Lounge highlighting the many books and e-books that focus on classic management literature, including books by Henry Mintzberg and Peter Drucker. If you’re a proactive student interested in management or an aspiring manager looking to be on top of his/her game, come by and explore the many facets of business management that were introduced in the early years and get familiar with their underlying theories and concepts, many of which still play a critical role in businesses today. You can always pick up “The Best Business Books Ever” which is a collection of the most influential management books in history.


George, C.S. (1972). The history of management thought ([2d ed.] –.). Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.

Tengblad, S. (2006). Is there a ‘New Managerial Work’? A comparison with Henry Mintzberg’s classic study 30 years late. Journal of Management Studies, 43(7), 1437-1461.

Zahra, S. A. (2003). An interview with Peter Drucker. Academy of Management Executive, 17(3), 9-12.