chapter  17
12 Pages

History of management thought in context: the case of Elton Mayo in Australia

WithTuomo Peltonen

George Elton Mayo is generally considered one of the most infl uential theorists in the history of management thought. His name appears regularly in lists of the most important texts on the theory and practice of management (e.g. Wren & Bedeian, 2009 ; Wren & Hay, 1977 ). Even more notable is his legacy in the fi eld of organizational behavior, where he is often considered to have laid the theoretical foundations for this emerging discipline (O’Connor, 1999b : 223; Roethlisberger, 1977 ; Whyte, 1987 ). Part of that heritage has been transmitted through the vast impact (Gillespie, 1991 ) of the legendary Hawthorne studies for the practice and theory of organizational management (Mayo, 1933 ; Roethlisberger & Dickson, 1939 ). Yet Mayo has not only been cherished as a key scholar in the history of organization theory, but his work has also been the target of extensive historical review and criticism (Wood & Wood,  2004 ).