Who is the Father of Management: Drucker or Caesar?

Phil Holberton

Phil Holberton

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The late Peter Drucker was often referred to as “the man who invented management.”  While Drucker’s contribution to the canon of management is legendary, he certainly was not the first to comment on or grapple with the art and science of managing subordinates.

Jerry Toner, a professor of classical studies at Cambridge University has penned a brief article about how the Roman nobility managed their “employees”, otherwise known in those days as “slaves.”  Contrary to popular myth, the Romans knew their slaves were human beings and much like today’s managers employed, according to Professor Toner , “Incentives, rewards, bonuses and bonding experiences – Roman slave-owners were the first management theorists.” Thankfully,  slavery is no longer a legally sanctioned institution (though tragically  it still persists in the darker corners of the world)   but isn’t it interesting that so many employees today, who enjoy unparalleled freedom, often refer to themselves as “wage slaves”!?

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