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Management History and Theories. M. Burns, PhD, RD FCS 3000. Management Process. The early, early days…. “A bed that has been made up a week or more is not fit to sleep in: as moisture gathers, which often proves fatal to persons sleeping in one”. Early 20 th century….

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Management history and theories l.jpg

Management History and Theories

M. Burns, PhD, RD

FCS 3000

Management process l.jpg
Management Process

M. Burns, 2007

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The early, early days…

  • “A bed that has been made up a week or more is not fit to sleep in: as moisture gathers, which often proves fatal to persons sleeping in one”

M. Burns, 2007

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Early 20th century…

  • Management and home economics merged thinking

  • Gilbreth and Frederick

    • Lake Placid Conferences (1899-1908)

  • Taylor

    • ‘Father of management’

    • Work simplification

M. Burns, 2007

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Eras of home management

  • 1900-1930s

    • Health, sanitation, hygiene

    • Household work was hands-on, arduous, and repetitive

    • No indoor plumbing or electricity for most

    • Catalog shopping is new

M. Burns, 2007

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Eras of home management

  • 1940’s – early 1950’s

    • Increased use of household equipment, efficiency, step saving, and task simplification

    • More clothing, food, and cleaning products purchased

    • Shopping centers begin

M. Burns, 2007

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Eras of home management

  • 1950s – 1960s

    • Gradual swing from work performance in the home

    • Resource decision making becomes more of a family issue

M. Burns, 2007

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Eras of home management

  • 1970s -1980s

    • Systems framework emphasizing the interconnections among family, home, and the greater society

M. Burns, 2007

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Postmodern era

  • Household work is still hands-on with more machine aided

  • Home delivery expanded with 800 numbers, internet shopping, self-service, pervasive media exposure

M. Burns, 2007

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Early legislation

  • Smith-Lever Act (1914)

    • Funding for extension programs

  • Smith-Hughes Act (1917)

    • Funding for training home ec teachers

  • Purnell Act (1925)

    • Funding for research

M. Burns, 2007

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More recent legislation

  • Consumer protection

  • Child labor laws

  • Welfare reform

  • Nutrition policies

  • Work leave policies

  • Healthcare reform

M. Burns, 2007

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Current research

  • Financial/economic resources

  • Human/household resources

    • Experiences/expectations of working families

    • Cultural images of working families

    • Interlocking careers

    • Retirement issues

    • Midlife transitions

  • Time use continues to be the most studied.

M. Burns, 2007

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Theory defined

  • Organized system of ideas or beliefs (hypotheses) that can be measured

  • System of assumptions or principles

  • Functions

    • Organize facts/situations

    • Predict future behaviors

    • Control/alter behavior

M. Burns, 2007

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Premise of Systems Theory

  • System defined

    • Integrated set of parts that function together for the end result

  • Emphasis on the whole

  • Interconnectedness of the parts

  • Interactions between different systems

M. Burns, 2007

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Systems Theory










Decision making




Use of resources


Met demands

Achieved goals



Altered resources



M. Burns, 2007

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Feedback Loop







Develop plans







M. Burns, 2007

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Characteristics of systems

  • Degree of openness of system

    • Morphogenic – more open

    • Morphostatic – more closed

  • Degree of disorder/randomness

    • Entropy

    • Homeostasis

M. Burns, 2007

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Characteristics of systems

  • Degree of ‘how you get there’

    • Equifinality – different initial circumstances/opportunities lead to similar outcomes

    • Multifinality – similar initial circumstances/opportunities lead to different outcomes

M. Burns, 2007

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Applications of Systems Theory

  • Family system (FCS 2000)

    • McCubbin’s family resiliency factors

  • Personal system

    • Recognize and make productive your strengths and abilities

    • Subsystems of physiological, behavioral, psychological, and social

M. Burns, 2007

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Application of Systems Theory

  • Household as a system

    • Several household tasks, such as doing the laundry, preparing meals, establishing schedules, child care issues

    • End result might be to save money, be more efficient, or…

M. Burns, 2007

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Meal preparation




M. Burns, 2007

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Economic Theory

  • Maximize satisfaction from decisions made based on given resources

  • Optimization

    • Obtaining the best result, such as maximizing your dollar

  • Satisficing – picking the first good alternative that presents itself

M. Burns, 2007

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The “risk” factor in decision making

  • Are you a risk taker?

  • Risk refers to the possibility of experiencing harm, suffering, danger or loss.

    • Apply risk to decision making within the home environment

M. Burns, 2007

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Types of risk

  • Functional/performance

  • Financial

  • Physical

  • Psychological

  • Social

  • Time

M. Burns, 2007

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Next Time

  • Complete VALS survey online at

    • Bring your results page and the description of your primary and secondary types to our next class session

    • Letter to significant other in your life re: the results and how they might/are impact/ing your personal relationship.

M. Burns, 2007