Seventy-four years ago, in his definitive work The Theory of Social and Economic Organization, sociologist Max Weber predicted the arrival of corporate man, says Stuart Crainer.
The ying and yang of business theory are the de-humanising view of commerce and a more optimistic, humane interpretation: machines versus people; science versus art. The de-humanists portray industrialisation as the triumph of machine over man. The humanists argue that organisations are created and driven by people, that business is an unpredictable art not a predictable science. The debate rumbles on and will, no doubt, continue to do so as the machines become smarter and smarter.