Specifically, Caesar masterfully showed how through building alliances one may achieve power and rise to the top of the leadership tier even in a group or society as vast as the Ancient Roman Empire (Abbott, 1901, p.385).
The Roman Empire also provides an example of organizational systems within the public domain through the Republican system. In the Roman Republican system of government, one man did not have the power to make law. Instead, power was balanced amongst three different branches of government: the executive, the legislative, and the judicial ("The Roman Empire"). In fact, this form of government introduced the concept of a senatorial body to the public. In Rome, the Senate was designed as a separate body of government from that of the Emperor so as to avoid the tyranny of one leader. Through the advent of the Senate, the Romans laid the groundwork for leadership structure of Britain as well as other modern nations whom did not want one leader to be able to dictate laws to the entire group (Abbott, 1901, p.385).
The Byzantine Empire originated in 364 a.C. from a split from the Roman Empire during a period of Rome's decline. In the center of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople, Christianity was declared the official religion. Despite the fact that this Empire moved from the study of mythical gods to the study of Christianity, this society does not reflect a forward way of thinking with regard to government, management, or culture. Nonetheless, the Byzantine Empire with its advancements in writing and grammar contributed significantly to the preservation of and transmission of classical knowledge so that other societies could benefit from lessons from the past. (Anastos, 1962, p.410; Tatakes, 2003).
After the sixth century, the scholars of the Byzantine Empire experienced a dark era during the years of the plague and the Arab conquests. For a short time after the dark years, the Byzantine Empire experienced a resurgence and scholars made some strides in science, astronomy and mathematics; however, little was added to the history of management during this time (Cohen, 1994). We do know that during this time, the Byzantine government was influenced by austere and rigid religious beliefs and that, based upon said beliefs, the Byzantines were the instigators of the crusades which would lead the world into 800 years of darkness (Tatakes, 2003).
Islamic Golden Age
The period between the 8th and the 13th Century is referred to as the Islamic Golden Age or the Islamic Renaissance since during this period, Muslim culture thrived in areas ranging from engineering to philosophy and artistry to trading (Kraemer; Turner). During this time period, medieval Islam was open to humanistic notions of individualism, liberalism, religious freedom, and cross-cultural exchange (Hassan). The work of Al-Ghazali, in particular, had a significant influence upon leadership and management during that era (Chowdhry, 2007).
Born in Tus, Persia, Al-Ghazali (1058-1111 a.C.), was a true Renaissance man; he was an Islamic theologian, jurist, philosopher, cosmologist, psychologist, mystic, and scholar. Specifically, he is known for publishing the Nasihat (literal translation: "Advice"), a collection of political writings which addressed issues relating to political authority. In the Nasihat, for instance, he commented upon the role of communication as well as types of personality traits which lead to effective leadership. (Chowdhry, 2007). With regard to communication, Al-Ghazali contends that the line of communication to leadership should be known and repeatedly tested to ensure that leadership is engaging with the organization as a whole (Id.). For Al-Ghazali, good leadership was a sacred duty and pleased God if executed correctly. In order to provide effective leadership according to Al-Ghazali's Nasihat, the leader must establish a model of "right" or moral conduct and will keep informed regarding any information that might affect his management of the empire (Id). In addition to reinforcing the connection between moral conduct and effective management, the Golden Age of Islam was one which sought a high levels of achievement, knowledge, and success in just about every discipline.
The First Crusade was announced by Pope Urban II in 1095, in his attempt to regain control of the Holy Land ("History World Organization"). During the Crusades, many lives were lost in the name of religion and, in fact, the Catholic Church became increasingly tolerant of war in order to defend its religious faith (Sweeney, 1983, Volume III). Alongside the increase in war in the name of religion was the notion of chivalry or, in other words, the code of behavior followed by medieval knights. In connection to management, author and historian Constantinou notes that "The rider,...
A management model derives from this time period called "the first management model" which mandates a return to the Middle Ages wherein men are chivalrous on the outside and, moreover, they demonstrate graciousness and respect toward one another while meeting behind closed doors. Indeed, these knights met at a round table since the table's round shape does not allow for a hierarchy or a single leader; instead, the knights are considered equal partners in their quests to slew the dragon of injustice (Manch and Henning, 2006, p.41). Eventually chivalry evolved into a new genre called the courtesy book which actually provided a guide for the behavior of men wherein respect for women and a concern for the impoverished were required attributes (Sweeney).
Overall, the Crusades were a time of contradiction since many innocent lives were lost over religious arguments; however, there was more than blood and destruction. There were codes of honor; there was respect for women; there was concern for the have-nots. Moreover, in terms of management and literature, we see, long before universities offered courses in Group Communication Theory, that the way in which a group approaches its social interaction (e.g., a round table or a rectangular table), will have an effect on the communication process itself.
12th Century Renaissance
During the 12th Century Renaissance, a revitalization occurred in several areas such as in the political, economic, intellectual, artistic realms (Sommerville, n.d.). During this time, new institutions evolved such as places for higher education and new approaches to problem solving (Encyclopedia Brit.). While new institutions arose, with regard to work, interestingly people did not commute as travel was arduous and rare. Work usually occurred in homes or on farms or in workshops next to one's home or farm whether or not the work was agrarian or crafts or trade related ("History of Organization Work"). In some cases, communities of houses worked together to create a "cottage industry" wherein a group of houses were built in a semicircle such that each house represented a particular step in the production cycle. These groups worked together, without a boss, without a commute, such that together the work group divided up the steps of the labor process and together created a final product (Id.). Many historians feel that had the Black Plague not occurred, this civilization would have gone even further with regard to improving and applying lessons of the past.
The Gothic period is dominated by a resurgence in interest in ancient knowledge and, specifically, in the artistry of the masterbuilders of Ancient Rome. During this period, town centers embarked upon Gothic cathedrals using this architecture; however, these were not your typical cathedrals. Once a cathedral was built, it ended up being the largest indoor space of a town and, therefore, it attracted numerous people from all over who went there to communicate or "network" with one another. Soon, towns competed with other towns to see who could build the bigger or more beautiful piece of Gothic architecture ("Lessons from History," n.d.).
From a management perspective, these cathedrals took decades to build and oftentimes cost $1 billion dollars requiring substantial sponsorship from merchant interests. Accordingly, long-range planning was necessary along with a system of project governance. At times, examples of inefficiencies arose when the project would stop and then start again with a new manager who used different measurement standards and, therefore, caused new calculations and added cost and delay to the project ("Lessons from History"). The building of these structures demonstrates the impact that infrastructure may have on a city centre as once these were built they served as a secular and non-secular meeting place for members of all classes and generated much revenue for the communities in which they were built.
The European Renaissance was a cultural movement from the 14th to the 16th centuries typified by a rebirth in learning, a rise in realism, and rationality in political thought. This change in intellectual thought affected the political structure and management of the European people. One of the most notable of theorists of the era whom is still relevant today is Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527), and Italian public theorist and a political theorist who believed that people are motivated by self-interest. Based thereon, he redefined politics through…
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