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The British Philosophy of Administration

The British Philosophy of Administration book coverA Comparison of British and American Ideas 1900 - 1939

This 'classic' book records the intellectual and practical developments in British public and business administration for the period 1900 - 1939, compared to American developments. The book has a foundation chapter on 'ethics' showing how UK Quaker companies, like Rowntree and Cadbury, set examples in 'corporate responsibility' in that era, many of which are relevant today. Other chapters cover policy-making, organisational theory and bureaucracy.

Title: The British Philosophy of Administration
Author: Rosamund M. Thomas, Ph.D., M.A. (Cantab)
Binding: Paperback, pp. 280
Published: 2nd Edition, 1996 (first published in hard back by Longman)
Price: £19.95 (plus postage)
With black and white illustrations
In stock (despatch within three days)
ISBN: 978-1-871891-00-3


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More about The British Philosophy of Administration

This book compares British and American business and public sector management ideas and practices for the period 1900 - 1939. It identifies for the first time six pioneers of British administration, including Civil Service reformer (Lord) Richard B. Haldane; William H. Beveridge, former Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science; Lyndall Urwick, a manager at the Rowntree Cocoa Works, York and management educationalist / international consultant.

The book challenges the conventional wisdom about American 'classical organisation theory', 'human relations theory' and 'bureaucracy', replacing them by a British philosophy of administration based on a unification of the science of administration with ethics.

A foundation text for courses on business management, public policy, public administration, public law, sociology, and other social sciences. Also, key reading for civil servants and policy-makers. Valuable for emerging nations seeking to identify and implement sound administrative ideas and practices.


I have been using your excellent The British Philosophy of Administration as the main text for my 'Foundations of Public Administration' class. I think that this volume sets out the two principal approaches to Public Administration in an unsurpassed way; I know of no other book that does this so well. Student responses have been very good indeed. Public Administration in the New Democracies of Eastern and Central Europe face unique challenges, and the 'classic' curricula, and books, are just not transferable. In such a situation, it is particularly fortunate that there exist books such as yours - although very few indeed

Professor W.J.M. Drechsler, Chair of Public Administration, University of Tartu, Estonia.

Since large-scale bureaucracies now characterize both the private and public economies of both nations [the UK and USA] the differences ought to be, one supposes, explicable on some intellectual basis. That is what Rosamund Thomas has attempted to provide in this careful and well-written excursion.

(Harvard) Business History Review

Thomas's volume marks an important and distinctive departure in studies of administration...The work is both conceptual and historical. Thomas establishes her ability to handle disparate material very well, and she sensitively presents diverse views, whether or not she agrees with them. This is a scholarly work...

Business Management and Labor (USA)