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The History of Progress Functions as a Managerial Technology

Author

Listed:
  • Dutton, John M.
  • Thomas, Annie
  • Butler, John E.

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Dutton, John M. & Thomas, Annie & Butler, John E., 1984. "The History of Progress Functions as a Managerial Technology," Business History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(02), pages 204-233, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:buhirw:v:58:y:1984:i:02:p:204-233_05
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    3. Petty, Jeffrey S. & Gruber, Marc, 2011. ""In pursuit of the real deal": A longitudinal study of VC decision making," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 172-188, March.
    4. Mauleón, Ignacio, 2016. "Photovoltaic learning rate estimation: Issues and implications," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 507-524.
    5. Yeh, Sonia & Rubin, Edward S., 2007. "A centurial history of technological change and learning curves for pulverized coal-fired utility boilers," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 32(10), pages 1996-2005.
    6. Terwiesch, Christian & E. Bohn, Roger, 2001. "Learning and process improvement during production ramp-up," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 1-19, March.
    7. Chenxi Zhou & Jinhong Xie & Qi Wang, 2016. "Failure to Complete Cross-Border M&As: “To” vs. “From” Emerging Markets," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 47(9), pages 1077-1105, December.
    8. Alexopoulos, Michelle & Tombe, Trevor, 2012. "Management matters," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 269-285.
    9. Meschi, Pierre-Xavier & Metais, Emmanuel, 2006. "International acquisition performance and experience: A resource-based view. Evidence from French acquisitions in the United States (1988-2004)," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 430-448, December.
    10. Almgren, Henrik, 1999. "Towards a framework for analyzing efficiency during start-up:: An empirical investigation of a Swedish auto manufacturer," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 79-86, April.
    11. Fioretti, Guido, 2007. "The organizational learning curve," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 177(3), pages 1375-1384, March.
    12. Anelí Bongers, 2017. "Learning and Forgetting in the Jet Fighter Aircraft Industry," Working Papers 2017-02, Universidad de Málaga, Department of Economic Theory, Málaga Economic Theory Research Center.
    13. Willard I. Zangwill & Paul B. Kantor, 1998. "Toward a Theory of Continuous Improvement and the Learning Curve," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(7), pages 910-920, July.
    14. Rubin, Edward S & Taylor, Margaret R & Yeh, Sonia & Hounshell, David A, 2004. "Learning curves for environmental technology and their importance for climate policy analysis," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 29(9), pages 1551-1559.
    15. Fioretti, Guido, 2009. "From men and machines to the organizational learning curve," MPRA Paper 19392, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Peter Thompson, 2001. "How Much Did the Liberty Shipbuilders Learn? New Evidence for an Old Case Study," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(1), pages 103-137, February.
    17. J. West & Arlene Fiore & Larry Horowitz, 2012. "Scenarios of methane emission reductions to 2030: abatement costs and co-benefits to ozone air quality and human mortality," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 114(3), pages 441-461, October.
    18. Susan Helper, 1997. "Complementarity and Cost Reduction: Evidence from the Auto Supply Industry," NBER Working Papers 6033, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Yeh, Sonia & Rubin, Edward S., 2012. "A review of uncertainties in technology experience curves," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 762-771.
    20. Xavier Meschi, 2005. "Apprentissage d’expériences des partenaires et survie des coentreprises," Revue Finance Contrôle Stratégie, revues.org, vol. 8(4), pages 121-152, December.
    21. Harris, Richard & Keay, Ian & Lewis, Frank, 2015. "Protecting infant industries: Canadian manufacturing and the national policy, 1870–1913," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 15-31.

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