History of Management of 12 Periods in Western Civilization Essay

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¶ … management and leadership strategies were utilized by civilizations. Oftentimes, civilizations-based what services to provide and how to provide them to their citizens upon the particular needs of that particular civilization at that time. In this case, the vast majority of these societies existed long before there were terms or coursework offered in the management or leadership arena. Herein, beginning with Ancient Mesopotamia, this paper shall trek around the world to varying civilizations noting how the societies managed the particular needs of their citizens given the particular resources at hand and then figuring out how best to manage the particular needs of each country

Ancient Mesopotamia

Through the organizational behavior of the Sumerian priests and the leadership of Hammurabi, the Ancient World of Mesopotamia's style of management is revealed. Specifically, in each example, writings, codes, and norms were used not only as a means to manage the people, but as a means of managing the Gods (George, 1972). In Ancient times, the masses believed that they were at the mercy of the Gods' arbitrary decisions which caused many to feel helpless. Thus, leadership of the era used codes to regulate their relationships and daily living and a system of writing to make business transactions accountable (Saggs, 1989).

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As early as 5000 B.C., Sumerian priests used writing and accounting principles to record business transactions and to keep track of the property of the church and state. In order to infuse honesty into the business transactions, Sumerian leaders devised managerial controls through requiring priests to provide written accountings (e.g., receipts) of donations given to local agencies. In addition to using codes, written transactions of property and money, this time period is also notable for having the first leader, Sargon, who was able to inspire and create a unified empire through his personality and his ability to build, maintain, and administer an entire empire (Snell, 1997, p.32).

TOPIC: Essay on History of Management of 12 Periods in Western Civilization Assignment

Hammurabi also exemplifies notable management techniques of this region during Ancient times as he used codes or laws to bring order as well as to codify the classist, patriarchal norms within their society (Saggs, 1989). Within the codes, the philosophical values and virtues of the society were reflected. For instance, the laws themselves codified the existence of three distinct classes of human resources: nobles, freemen, and slaves. Further, the laws demonstrated their commitment to strict justice with severe penalties based upon the class of the person who was victimized with higher penalties donned should the crime be against a higher class. In the domestic realm, the laws also protected men as the head of the household: he could even have his wife drowned for neglecting her house and humiliating her husband (Kries, 2010).

Ancient Mesopotamia thrived economically and politically for many years due to the ability of its leaders such as Sargon and Hammurabi to bring order and structure to the society so that agriculture as well as trade and artsmenship could flourish. In fact, they are remembered as an ingenuis society who was able to use management of resources through written laws to harness the spirit of its workforce (Buccellati). Accordingly, Mesopotamia earned its reputation as the cradle of civilization. As they grew and city-states emerged, cities grew larger, more laws were enacted, and bureaucracy kept the communities organized and sanitary (Saggs, 1989, p.63).

Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egypt is perhaps best known in modernity for constructing the pyramids. In order to undertake such a project, on a pragmatic level, Ancient Egypt necessitated the development and implementation of management structures for planning, organization, and controlling the development and decision-making of such an ambitious endeavor (Erman, 1984). Thus, in addition to being known for the pyramids as well as other public displays of honor, the Ancient Egyptians are also remembered for their use of writing, education, and philosophy to create an organized and productive society ("Menu").

The enormity of the task of building the pyramids is demonstrated in the examination of the building of one of the pyramids: King Cheops. This pyramid alone has 2.3 million blocks of stone each of which had to be quarried, cut to precise size and shape, cured, transported by boat for two to three days, moved to the construction site, and finally shaped and smoothed to fit perfectly in place. To accomplish this, it took twenty-three years and over 20,000 workers. Accordingly, at this time, the Egyptians not only understood the need for organization and planning, but they implemented procedures for submitting written requests and began using staff for consulting purposes prior to making decisions (Erman, 1984).

In its process of building the pyramids and an organizational structure, Egypt also became the first civilization to use paper or papyrus in order to communicate as well as to preserve their ideas (Ruiz, 2001, p.129). Egypt believed in the importance of using writing to record their stories as well as the day-to-day functioning of their government and religion. Indeed, as a result of Egypt's desire to not only preserve its culture through hieroglyphics or wall paintings but through the usage of papyrus as well, that today we have evidence of Egypt's beliefs in social justice, monotheism, monogamy, education, government, and morality ("Menu").

Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece of the 5th and 4th Centuries B.C. is considered by some to have provided the foundation for Western civilization. In addition to being known for the founding of democracy and a successful agrarian system, Ancient Greece also boasts a rich history with regard to philosophy ("Ancient Greece"). As a result, many of the management principles utilized in modern societies have Greek philosophy as its underlying tenets. In fact, the Greeks were the first society to consistently demonstrate leadership beyond the military and political arenas into the areas of philosophy, science, and history (Wren, 1994, p.19). From studying this culture, we can better comprehend the underpinnings of management, leadership, inquiry, and motivation theories which continue to exist in modern society's today.

Philosophers Socrates (469-399 B.C.) and, thereafter, Plato (428-348 B.C.), for instance, provided the definition of management as a skill separate from technical knowledge and experience. In fact, Socrates was the first public figure to document the importance of delegating authority. As a result thereof, Plato and Aristotle later developed Socrates' theory of work delegation to also include commentary regarding the direct relationship between specialization of work and the division of labor with efficient work practice (Wren, 1994, p.19). In Plato's the Republic, he continues to describe the importance of the fact that carefully selected young men should be trained not only with specialization and expertise in mind, but such that they will develop the appropriate personalities and skills necessary to serve as leaders (Pindur and Rogers,1995, p.59). In the area of problem-solving, Plato further provides an explanation of the Socratic method by which in order to solve a problem a particular process should be followed. This process involves breaking the problem down into a series of questions with the answers to the questions leading to the solution of the particular problem. In fact, the modern world today continues to use the Socratic method in all walks of life, including the use of the scientific method, in order to solve complex problems (Coppens, n.d.).

In addition to benefitting from the wisdom of Socrates and Plato, Greek historian Thucydides (460-395 B.C.) wrote what is considered to be the first true treatise on leadership. In his chronicle of the Peloponnesian Wars, Thucydides stated his belief that while leadership was necessary for democracy, leadership was also dangerous in the context of democracy without appropriate checks and balances (Warner, 1997, p.620). Thus, many modern day societies as well as corporations are founded upon democratic notions, but with the realistic understanding that for leadership to be effective there must be checks and balances built in. Indeed, overall, the Greeks provided future cultures with insights into human and group behavior which demonstrated that both in private and public spheres there is an important place for reason and inquiry-based analyses.

Roman Empire

At its height in the 1st and 2nd Centuries a.C., the Roman Empire included over 2.2 million square miles and a populace of sixty million people with an intricate network of roads, a hub of technological ingenuity, and numerous advances in art and architecture. To manage this vast area, the Romans utilized a combination of management strategies: a Republican form of government with checks and balances, a disciplined military, a system of delegation, a prioritization of education, and network of political alliances ("The Roman Empire").

The Emperors of the Roman Empire provide specific examples of management styles from delegation to the formation of alliances. From Roman Emperor Diocletian (244-311 a.C.), the art of delegation came into fruition. Specifically, he divided the Empire into 101 provinces and grouped them into thirteen dioceses within four main geographic regions (George, 1972). From the separation of the Empire into these divisions, Diocletian began the process of delegating authority as well as developing a chain of command within the provinces (Osigweh, 1985). In addition to delegation of… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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