Ian McGivering helped to lay the foundations of university-based management education in Britain and went on to influence the way personnel management was taught in British business schools.
After flying bombers in the RAF, he obtained the Social Science Certificate at Liverpool University. Two years as Personnel Manager at Lockheed in Leamington Spa followed. He was then asked to return to Liverpool University in 1951, to join the Industrial Research Section of the Department of Social Science. In the next 12 years, he contributed to a series of influential books published by the research section: Industrial Leadership (1952), The Dock Worker (1954), Management in Britain (1960) and Coal and Conflict (1962). During this time he obtained an MA for studying the history of personnel management on Merseyside.
In 1963, McGivering was invited by the first director of Bradford University's Management Centre, Tom Kempner, to be the Reader in Organisational Behaviour and to plan and develop the teaching of personnel management in this new business school. He held this post for 26 years and helped to transform a small business studies department of a northern college of advanced technology into one of the leading business schools in the world.
Many people now working in the field of management education often ponder and discuss how that could have come to be. They need look no further for the answer than the early pioneers of management education in the universities like McGivering. His research-based insights, his deep understanding of what it is like to work in the Liverpool docks, department stores, and in coal mines, his rejection of shallow and seductive explanations about the world of work made him a teacher of repute.
It is easy to satisfy the difficult and opinionated market of students of management, at all levels, with instant and personally non-threatening solutions to managerial problems; contemporary trainers and consultants thrive on them. But university teachers like McGivering fought long and hard to teach what was right rather than popular and so construct a solid foundation on which to build a first-rate business school.
McGivering's standing in the field was recognised by the award of a Fellowship by the Institute of Personnel Management and appointment in 1981 as the founder editor of the Journal of European Training.
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