Latin America and the Caribbean Management HistoryThe evolution of management thought in Europe has its roots in the books of classic economists like Smith, Jevons, Marshall, Mills, Say, and Babbage (George & Álvarez, 2005). In the United States, the mainstream ideas that appeared at the beginning of managerial thought belong to mechanical engineering, especially in the books of Metcalfe, Towne, Taylor, Emerson, Gantt, Moller, and Gilbreth (Wren & Bedeian, 2018).
In Latin America and the Caribbean - LAC, the origin was different. The law and political sciences were the cornerstones of developing managerial ideas (Dávila, 1991a; Wahrlich, 1978). While Simón Bolívar was fighting for liberty, the general Francisco de Paula Santander considered that administration was part of the knowledge that the new nation needed to create itself. Santander, governing Great Colombia (today Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Panama), signed the Decree of March 18, 1826, to include 'administrative sciences' in the lawyer's curriculum in Caracas, Quito, and Bogota (Orozco, 2015).
To further support the formation of a federal state, Florentino González went beyond the ideas about public administration available at that time: the Prussian concept of Policey Wissenschaft and the proposal of Charles-Jean Bonnin in the Principes d'Administration Publique to create an original proposal called 'Elementos de Ciencia Administrativa' in 1840 (Guerrero, 1997; Orozco, 2015). In the prologue González (1840, p. 1) pointed out that it is "a book that deals with an unknown science in the Americas, a science that we need to foster if we want to be happy some day" (Guerrero, 1997, p. 52, free translation from the guest editors).
The commerce schools appeared in México and Colombia to teach grammatical, accounting, law, languages, geography, and commercial techniques. The first one was the Escuela Superior de Comercio y Administración in Mexico in 1845, followed by the School of Commerce of Barranquilla in 1881 (Orozco, 2015). In Medellín, the National School of Mining was founded in 1886, seeking to create a new entrepreneurial elite in Colombia, led by Alejandro López (Orozco & Anzola, 2018).
In Argentina, the Universidad de Buenos Aires began to teach issues in management in 1913 under the influence of the railroad and British economists (Fernández & Gantman, 2011). Finally, the Jesuits established the first schools of administration at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in 1924 and Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul in Brasil, in 1931 (Orozco, 2015).
The development of management thinking in LAC has been neglected in the annals of management history. Well-known books that are part of normal science, like Wren and Bedeian, George, or Witzel, lack chapters or presentations about LAC management thinking. The process, cultural and cognitive contexts, the tensions between the political and industrial organization, the relationships between schools, practitioners, and entrepreneurs, and the public and private forms of managing business are some of the knowledge gaps about LAC that we currently have. This special issue tries to begin filling this gap and proposes a landscape to include LAC in management history.
Luis Antonio Orozco | University Externado de Colombia; Colombia
Olga Lucía Anzola Morales | University Externado de Colombia, Colombia
Fredy Vargas Lama | University Externado de Colombia, Colombia
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