Abstract: Selling the Organizational Knowledge Field: Personal Networks and the Construction of the Management Press in France and Germany before World War I

Heinrich Hartmann


From the very beginnings of the twentieth century, the evolving management journals opened new arenas of managerial sciences. Long before the rationalization studies of the 1920s, the institutional and scientific character of this field of organizational sciences was partly shaped in these new forms of specialized media. Based on a transdisciplinary and broadly comparative approach to the history of the links between management schools and entrepreneurial practices in French and German business in the Second Industrialization, this contribution seeks to exploit the construction and the meaning of mediated fields of reflexion on scientific management in both countries. By this perspective, we do not primarily and necessarily mean the spreading and translation of tayloristic management in European contexts. In this paper therefore I seek to discuss both the forms of knowledge that magazines such as <em>Organisation</em> or <em>Mon Bureau</em> tried to deal with as well as the underlying personal networks and their professional interests in promoting a new scientific field. I want to ask, in particular, to what extent commercial interests and personal networks contributed to the evolving management techniques. By this approach, I also try to answer the question of links between "modern" filing systems and new fields of entrepreneurial expertise before World War I.