Management as a Profession: The Historian’s Perspective

  • Susanna Fellman


Can—and should—management become a profession? My answer is “only to a limited extent” and “it depends”, based on lessons drawn from history. While some kind of a professionalization process has occurred, all efforts to develop management into a true profession have failed. In my chapter, I examine historical debates concerning whether management should become a profession and when professionalization aims have been particularly to the fore. I also describe how managerial background (education, career, recruitment) changed over time, reflecting the rudimentary professionalization process. Finally, I lift up key interpretations of why managers cannot form a fully-fledged profession, namely the inability of any educational group to monopolize top management, but also the limited interest among managers to aim for professionalization.


Professionalization of management Education of managers Managerial careers History of management 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susanna Fellman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Economy and SocietyUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden

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