Words: Management

Share
Related Topics
KOREAN AIRLINES has had a bad press since that alarming crash at Stansted, with grim catalogues being given of its dubious safety record. It has been suffering from "severe management problems", wrote the Independent's transport correspondent on the morning after, while an air safety expert on the BBC's Today programme wondered whether the trouble was to be found in "cockpit resource management". The phrase was not his own, but seems to be part of the vocabulary of the airline industry. I suppose we must forgive the airlines for trying to find an important way of saying these things. "How many people do we need on the flight deck?" would sound a bit pathetic, and would inspire little confidence.

But apart from all that, don't you start yawning these days when you hear the word management? Everyone is managing something or someone, except for a minority who are being managed. Personally I have never been able to take the word too seriously since I read the last of Paul Scott's novels about the Raj, Staying On. Remember the dictatorial Indian hotelier and her henpecked spouse? She was Ownership. He, poor chap, was only Management.

Every ambitious schoolchild aspires to Management, even if it's only Middle. It's true that managing a pop group or a football team has glamour; but to my mind neither is quite as glamorous as the original kind of managing, which was almost exclusively concerned with horses. Manage used at first to be spelt "manege" - probably, the Oxford English Dictionary tells me, because it came from the Italian maneggiare. This was the Italians' word for training and handling the noble beast, particularly the more fiery sort. The manege in the 17th century was either a riding school or the art of making a horse do as it was told; in those days the ability to manage a snorting steed was regarded as one of the most important marks of a gentleman.

The parent word is manus, the Latin for "hand", as in manufacture, which is now about things not made by hand, but that's another story. There was always a good deal of confusion about manage, though. It sounded too like the French menage, an entirely different animal. Menage is from the same family as maison and is therefore concerned with the house and not the stable. In the days before women stopped being thought inferior creatures it seemed reasonable to call a wife an excellent manager without anyone thinking about boardrooms, let alone stable yards. Mrs Beeton's great work (whose original edition of 1861 was entirely written by her, and certainly not by her husband Sam, as has been suggested) was called Beeton's Book of Household Management, and management must have seemed to her and to her readers the mot juste. Wasn't managing a household just what the word actually meant?

Now, of course, it has left the house again and is to be found everywhere, but chiefly among the suits and power-dressers, all of them managing away like mad. Or else in the kindergarten, whose clients are just learning to manage their shoelaces.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Primary Teachers Required in King's Lynn

Negotiable: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary Teachers needed in King's Ly...

Primary Teachers needed in Ely

Negotiable: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary Teacher needed in the Ely ar...

Teaching Assistant to work with Autistic students

£60 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Randstad Education Leicester ...

KS2 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Cambridge: KS2 Teacher needed in Peterborough a...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The appearance of Miguel Arias Canete at a Brussels hearing last Wednesday caused 100,000 people to sign a petition to prevent his appointment  

TTIP is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the EU's suspect relationships with corporations

Lee Williams
 

Being catcalled, groped and masturbated at is a common part of the female experience

Bryony Beynon
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain