Management Education in England: The Urwick Report
Date: 3 November 2009
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Doctor of Education in Education
This study provides a contribution to the historiography of management education in England. Criticism of British management expressed in Government policy over the past sixty years has concluded that a low level of management education in the UK is affecting its ability to compete. To this end there have been a number of government ...
This study provides a contribution to the historiography of management education in England. Criticism of British management expressed in Government policy over the past sixty years has concluded that a low level of management education in the UK is affecting its ability to compete. To this end there have been a number of government interventions in management education. The focus of this research is the first phase of government intervention in management education initiated in 1945. By considering the development of management education from a historical perspective this research adopts the theoretical stance that an understanding of the past can contribute to an understanding of management education today. The report of a committee on Education for Management appointed in 1945 by the Minister of Education, the Urwick Report (1947) and the subsequent Diploma in Management Studies (DMS), the first qualification in management studies, are used as vehicles to articulate the involvement and relationships of industry and government with regard to formal management education. From this, conclusions are drawn about the professional and policy processes at play and consideration given as to how these shaped subsequent practice. The method adopted was documentary analysis of primary sources which included published and unpublished administrative papers from government archives. Data from journals, a newspaper, and the archives of employee and employer bodies were referenced to provide context and support the validity of my interpretation. I conclude that the key contribution which the Urwick Report made to management education was in establishing the principle that there was a body of knowledge associated with management. The study illuminates policy processes surrounding management education at a particular time with regard to a specific report. During this period opportunities existed that, if actioned, could have significantly changed the education of managers in England. Government, industry and education were all party to these opportunities. Events surrounding the Urwick Report, and the subsequent implementation of the DMS, offer some useful lessons from the past.
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