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The History of Progress Functions as a Managerial Technology

  • John M. Dutton (a1), Annie Thomas (a2) and John E. Butler (a3)
Abstract

In this article, Professors Dutton, Thomas, and Butler trace the sixty-year history of a major managerial technology—the progress function—from its discovery in post-World War I airplane manufacture to its post-World War II popularity among management consultants. By statistically analyzing the large number of progress function studies, they demonstrate that its investigation has become balkanized by academic discipline, and that applied researchers have frequently ignored the contingencies stressed in the leading theoretical studies. Their article is thus a revealing example of how social scientific concepts get translated into business practice.

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Armen Alchian , “Reliability of Progress Curves in Airframe Production,” Econometrica 31 (October 1963): 679–93

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Business History Review
  • ISSN: 0007-6805
  • EISSN: 2044-768X
  • URL: /core/journals/business-history-review
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