The Problem of Management Semantics

by Lyndall Urwick



Students of management in other countries are profoundly grateful to the United States for the initiative, vigor and energy with which they have built up an apparatus for research and instruction in this new body of knowledge. To have created in half a century more than three-hundred faculties at major universities devoted to a novel branch of learning represents an achievement in educational development which, as far as this writer is aware, is unparalleled. in human history. It is, however, a great handicap to the understanding of management ideas by nationals of other countries, especially perhaps those for whom English is a foreign language, that the terminology of the subject is still in such incoherent confusion. This may be due in part to the very enthusiasm with which educational facilities have been developed in the United States. Inky warfare is one of the occupational diseases of the academic life. And, like more serious forms of combat, it is prone to confuse rather than to clarify. Words become weapons of offence and defense rather than aids to communication.

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