Ellen S. O’Connor
This chapter shows that the field of management is grounded in a political project to increase self-governing capacity. This project makes business the quintessential laboratory for organized, collective, creative life. The author argues that social responsibility is not merely a response to neoliberalism, environmentalism, or other twentieth-century movements but rather is the field’s DNA and reason for existing. She also hopes to stimulate engagement with this view, which contradicts received ideas about the nature and purpose of business. Three founders of management are examined in this chapter: Joseph Wharton (1826–1909), Mary Parker Follett (1868–1933), and Chester Barnard (1886–1961). They worked toward the goal of a society that could make itself. Wharton, Follett and Barnard also pioneered in building a science and profession of management. History has credited them with founding management, but it has shrunk their vision as the term took on narrower meanings. This chapter recovers the extent of their project and upholds it as a present-day ambition.