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This is one of a series of excerpts from older articles put online by John Ray as a public service. The articles concerned are in general otherwise available only by special request to a University or other major library.

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J. Applied Behavioral Science, 1976, 12 (1), 79-103

The Triumph and Failure of Albert Speer's Administrative Genius: Implications for Current Management Theory and Practice



ETHAN A. SINGER

LELAND M. WOOTON

In this article the authors explore Albert Speer's (Hitler's Minister of Armaments and War) theories of organizational change "with the specific purpose of framing and accentuating the anomaly that organizational change agents such as Albert Speer represent in technological societies. On the one hand, Speer was an exponent of some of the most advanced, participative, and 'humanistic' . . . management theories being endorsed today. At the same time, however, he utilized these theories and practices to promote the goals of one of the most inhumane societies in the history of mankind. . . . The crimes of the Third Reich are essentially modern crimes, made possible by 20th century technology, which holds within it both great promise and great danger for human values". The authors discuss the limitations of present forms of organizational change and suggest new directions and perspectives for an emerging theoretical base.


.......

"Organized Improvisation": Results-Oriented Management Theory

Albert Speer devised his theory of organization and management in answer to the excessive bureaucratization of the Hitler regime. This theory, labeled by him as "organized improvisation, represents an attempt to debureaucratize the armaments industry in order to make it "results" oriented rather than authority oriented. The theory, which is discussed in detail in Chapter 15 of his memoirs, consists essentially of four major components: collegial decision making, fluidity of organizational structures, temporary organizational structures, and industrial self-responsibility. .A brief description of these components will help to clarify his efforts to reshape the organizational and management systems of the armaments industry.




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