Tacking Down the Middle: Ten Years of Organizational Development by a British Business School

  • John Morris


I am not sure whether the personal impressions in this paper really qualify as a report on ‘Recent Advances’. They certainly seem like advances, of a very modest sort, but are they acceptably recent? My impressions range back over the eleven years of growth of the British business schools, looking mostly at the Manchester School. Eleven years seems quite a long time, even looked at in the historical perspective, for which the British are becoming notorious. But as I was drafting this paper in March, I took heart from a television discussion. The occasion was the showing of a film on the decline of Britain, made for American audiences. The discussants in the studio, pillars of the British establishment, chided the American film producer for getting it all wrong. One very senior business man, on the point of moving to a key job in British industry, claimed that the voluntary agreement on wage limitation, which had been reached the previous summer, had been ‘the Second Battle of Britain’. Needless to say, the British had won again. And another discussant — a senior faculty member from one of the business schools — reminded the viewers that the new Battle of EI Alamein had yet to be fought. This freedom of historical reminiscence and analogy is rather typical of our macro-level discussions in Britain. So I hope to be forgiven for regarding a period of up to eleven years as ‘recent’. It is a national characteristic; part of the culture.


Faculty Member Business School Organizational Development Project Team Project Work 
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© John Morris 1977

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  • John Morris

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