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Seis Momentos Decisivos en la Historia de la Gestión (19CBA85550)

General information






S semester

ECTS Credits:


Teaching Staff:

Group Teacher Department Language
Javier Nieto Santa Dirección General y Estrategia ENG



Previous Knowledge


Workload distribution

Workload distribution:

In-class sessions: 18 hours
Independent study: 36 hours
Tutorials/feedback: 2 hours


This subject consists of six sequential sessions, each dedicated to a key business figure at a time of change within management history. Instead of focusing on theoretical authors (introduced indirectly), the focus will be on six transcendental entrepreneurs. The six sessions as a whole are based on chronological criteria and should enable students to comprehend the evolution of management thought over time.

Course Learning Objectives

Create a mental map of the history of management and understand the different stages of its evolution. Highlight the most important authors and their respective contexts. Help participants to reflect on management's current situation and the foreseeable panorama in the first quarter of the 21st century.


1. Josiah Wedgwood and the entrepreneurial spirit in the 18th century

-"Je pense, alors je suis" (I think, therefore, I am); Descartes and his impact
-The Age of Enlightenment and the Lunar Society
-The Industrial Revolution and the appearance of factories
-The birth of management as an intellectual discipline

2. JP Morgan and Wall Street in the 19th century

-Canals and railroads in the 19th century
-Limited liability companies: "These little Republics"
-From London's City to New York's Wall Street
-The "visible hand" of management

3. Henry Ford and the assembly line at the start of the 20th century

-"The one best way": engineers take control of the firm
-Frederick Taylor (metallurgy) versus Henri Fayol (mining): general management
-Henry Ford's audacious method
-The classic management school
-The first university schools of management

4. Thomas Watson, Jr., and the sales revolution in the mid 20th century

-IBM challenges NCR
-Sociologists, psychologists and systems theory: "rational decision-making"
-"Good design is good business": professional aesthetics of modern firms
-The rise of marketing in welfare capitalism

5. Marvin Bower and his strategic consultants at the end of the 20th century

-The rise of strategy in management theory
-Business policy
-Alfred Chandler (Business History Group) and Kenneth Andrews (Business Policy Group). The new Harvard management paradigm
-Strategy as a narrative to transform organisational structures

6. Steve Jobs and innovation in the 21st century

-Jobs returns to Apple: strategy means saying "no"
-Talent, design and culture as key positioning elements
-The intersection between technology ("entrepreneurship") and good taste ("liberal arts")
-The importance of protected knowledge/information

Relation between Activities and Contents

1 2 3 4 5 6
Active class participation and short exercises            
Final project            


The classic teaching methodology is applied to this subject, consisting of faculty lectures in Spanish and student presentations (in Spanish or English) on the agreed-on topics. Students are also required to read the assigned texts or see specific films prior to each session in order to be able to participate in the in-class discussions. Attendance is mandatory.

Though lectures are given in Spanish, the bibliography, films and faculty presentations via slides are in English. Students may use either Spanish or English in class or when completing class assignments and their final projects.



Description %
Attendance 20
Active class participation and short exercises 20
Final project 60


Short bibliography:
Daniel Wren: "Historia de la Gestión". ESADE FONDO (Ediciones de Belloch), Barcelona 2008

Complementary material:
Faculty will provide historical readings by various authors.

Timetable and sections

Group Teacher Department
Javier Nieto Santa Dirección General y Estrategia