Article

Deeply Engaged, Intuitively Analytical and Determinedly Applied: Tom Burns and Joan Woodward in Context but not in Concert

Sandra Dawson

in The Oxford Handbook of Management Theorists

Published in print February 2013 | ISBN: 9780199585762
Published online April 2013 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199585762.013.0010

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management

Deeply Engaged, Intuitively Analytical and Determinedly Applied: Tom Burns and Joan Woodward in Context but not in Concert

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This article deals with two pioneering independent scholars working in the UK in the mid-twentieth century. The experiences of Tom Burns, born in 1913, and Joan Woodward, born in 1916, are at first sight uncannily parallel. Each was greatly influenced by the 1939–45 war and the powerful need for industrial reconstruction in the fast-changing, highly competitive international economy of the 1950s. Their separate studies revealed underlying commonalities about effective industrial organization. They were the pioneers who created contingency theory in the UK. They each were eager to find ways to contribute their independent judgements and research-based understandings to building competitiveness and improved performance into British industry. The discussion suggests that Woodward was a unitarist who flirted with pluralism, whereas Burns was a pluralist who flirted with radicalism.

Keywords: British industry; Tom Burns; contingency theory; industrial organization; industrial reconstruction; Joan Woodward

Article.  10916 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Business History

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