Ernst Abbe’s scientific management: theoretical insights from a nineteenth-century dynamic capabilities approach

Item Type Journal paper
Abstract

‘Scientific management’ is the label Frederick Taylor attached to the system of shop-floor management devised by him. In this article we present our discovery of very different ‘scientific’ management principles that, roughly concurrently with Taylorism, were developed by German physicist-turned-manager Ernst Abbe and that are codified in the statutes of the Carl Zeiss Foundation created by Abbe. They exhibit striking parallels to resource- and capability-based theories of the firm, and indicate managerial challenges that warrant further theoretical elaboration. Abbe develops an account for managing a science-based firm and securing its long-term competitiveness, giving detailed prescriptions with regard to the type and scope of a firm’s activities, its organizational set-up and its labor relations. We highlight some of the most characteristic features of Abbe’s thought, discuss its effects on the development of the firms owned by the Zeiss Foundation, and compare it to and draw out implications for present-day management theory.

Authors Murmann, Johann P. & Buenstorf, Guido
Journal or Publication Title Industrial and Corporate Change
Language English
Subjects business studies
HSG Classification contribution to scientific community
Refereed Yes
Date 15 July 2005
Publisher Oxford Academic
Volume 14
Number 4
Page Range 543-578
Number of Pages 35
Publisher DOI 10.1093/icc/dth067
Official URL https://academic.oup.com/icc/article/14/4/543/6578...
Contact Email Address peter.murmann@unisg.ch
Depositing User Michele Kölbener
Date Deposited 22 Oct 2018 11:58
Last Modified 22 Oct 2018 11:58
URI: https://www.alexandria.unisg.ch/publications/255420

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Citation

Murmann, Johann P. & Buenstorf, Guido (2005) Ernst Abbe’s scientific management: theoretical insights from a nineteenth-century dynamic capabilities approach. Industrial and Corporate Change, 14 (4). 543-578.

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https://www.alexandria.unisg.ch/id/eprint/255420
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