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Revista de Administração (São Paulo)

versão On-line ISSN 1984-6142

Rev. Adm. (São Paulo) vol.52 no.4 São Paulo out./dez. 2017 

Special Invited Paper

The foundation of the academic field in Business and Administration in Brazil: the case of RAUSP

Maria José Tonelli*  1 

1Fundação Getulio Vargas, São Paulo, SP, Brazil


"The foundation of the academic field in Business and Administration in Brazil: The case of RAUSP": This work proposes an interpretation, based on a Social Constructionism approach, of the genesis of the Business Administration academic field in Brazil, departing from the analysis of the first journals in this area: RAUSP – Revista de Administração and RAE – Revista de Administração de Empresas. The use of the expression "Administrative Science", presented in the first edition of RAUSP in 1947 should be considered the foundational mark of the scientific field of Business Administration in Brazil.

Keywords: RAUSP; Business administration; Administrative science; Brazil

Several studies have already examined the development of academic fields in Brazil, in economic, social sciences and political sciences among others (see Forjaz, 1997; Keinert & Silva, 2010; Loureiro & Pacheco, 1995; Loureiro, 1997a, 1997b; Miceli, 2001a; Souza, 2006). It is also known that the constitution of an academic field and a scientific community is constructed as a political arena and battles of power (see, among others, Bourdieu, 2002; Garcia, 1996; Misoczky, 2003; Ortiz, 1994; Schwartzman, 1979; Thiry-Cherques, 2006).

The histories of administrative thought (Wren, 1994) and companies already have been studied all over the world (Chandler, 1982, 2002). In Brazil, as also discussed in other countries, the rise of Business Schools is related to the hegemonic positioning of United States after the Second War that influenced science as a whole and management in particular (see, among others, Dar & Cooke, 2008; Leavitt, 1957; Marinho, 2001; Marinho, 2012; McLaren & Mills, 2008; Shenhav, 1999; Taylor, 1968). Brazilian studies in such field are recent and they discuss the creation of different Business Schools in the country such as FGV-EAESP, FACE-UFMG and FEA-USP. Institutionalism has been the main approach in such studies, with some influence of Post-Colonialist perspectives (Alcadipani & Bertero, 2012; Alcadipani & Caldas, 2012; Barros, 2013; Bertero, 2006; Curado, 2001; Donadone, 2001; Ferreira, 2008, 2010; Rossoni, 2006; Vale, 2012; Wood & Caldas, 2000; Wood, Tonelli, & Cooke, 2011).

This work seeks to contributes to this debate by proposing an interpretation, based on a Social Constructionism approach, of the genesis of the Business Administration academic field in Brazil, departing from the analysis of the first journals in this area: RAUSP – Revista de Administração e a RAE – Revista de Administração de Empresas. The period chosen for this analysis starts with the publishing of RAUSP in 1947 and continues until the creation of ANPAD – Associação Nacional de Pós-Graduação em Administração, in 1976. ANPAD represents then the institutionalization of the scientific field in Business Administration (Bertero, 2006; Fachin, 2006). As discussed in this work, the understanding of the period before the creation of ANPAD, in parallel with the foundation of the first Business Schools in Brazil, allows a more extensive knowledge of the creation of this scientific field. The main objective of this study is to identify, at the foundational moment, the discourses that establishes the scientific field in this area.

Departing from the Social Constructionist approach, we considered that journals had a central role on the diffusion of concepts and practices in Business Administration. Language does not represent but constitutes reality (Castañon, 2004; Cunliffe, 2008; Gergen & Thatchenkery, 2006; Newton, Deetz, & Reed, 2011; Nightingale & Cromby, 2002; Rasera & Japur, 2005; Slezak, 1994; Stam, 2001; Turner, 1991). In the case of RAUSP and RAE, those journals contribute to circulate mentalities and practices in the field, promoting the creation and diffusion of knowledge as well practices of management. At this paper, RAUSP will be the focus.

RAUSP – a brief description

Edited by the Instituto de Administração, RAUSP – Revista de Administração was launched in March of 1947, replacing Revista de Administração Pública, formally ended in 1946. In the year of 1947, the journal had three editions: June, September and December. The editor José Ferreira Carrato informs that with this new title, the journal replaces the Revista de Administração Pública, with the objective to amplify the frontiers of studies from public to private spheres. The following editions are irregular, as indicates below:

  • ✓ 1948 – 3 editions: March–June, September and December

  • ✓ 1949 – 3 editions: March, June and September–December

  • ✓ 1950 – 2 editions: March–June and September–December

  • ✓ 1951 – 1 edition: January–December (with the full report of the First Conference of Scientific Administration, realized together with IDORT)

  • ✓ 1952 – 1 edition: January–December

  • ✓ 1953 – 1 edition: January–December

The publishing of RAUSP is interrupted in 1954, returning only in January of 1962, with one edition in a new format and the announcement that regular publishing were not predetermined for the future. In this intermittent format, the publishing of RAUSP continues from December of 1962 to 1967, as follow:

  • ✓ 1962 – 2 editions: May and December

  • ✓ 1965 – 1 edition in June

  • ✓ 1966 – there is no publication

  • ✓ 1967 – 1 edition in December

During ten years, from 1967 to 1976, the publishing of RAUSP is interrupted again, returning in 1977 with two editions: April–May and June–July. The editorial of Sergio Baptista Zacarelli in the first edition justifies this long interruption as a consequence of the institutional changes realized by the University and proposes the reactivation of the Journal to publish research and to disseminate the knowledge produced in the Department of Economics and Administration of USP with focus in different areas such as Management, Finance, Human Resources, Quantitative Methods, Production and Projects. The second edition of this year presents the professors of the Instituto de Administração and the visiting foreign professors. From now on, the publication is absolutely regular.

RAUSP and the foundation of the academic Field in Business Administration

The first article of the first number of RAUSP in 1947 brings an article discussing the differences between the concepts of Commercial Law and the Administrative Science. Written by the professor Carlos S. de Barros Junior, the article argues that it is necessary to distinguish the Administrative Science and shows that different areas of knowledge permeate this science. Barros Jr. (1947) argues that there are different visions in the field of Laws regarding the autonomy of the Administrative Science, considering the complexity of the State and the public administration. But he concludes that the Administrative Science has autonomy, completely distinct of Commercial Law and should be treated in specific ways. We consider this article as seminal, the first publication to discuss in a Brazilian Journal the existence of the Administrative Science, a field with autonomy and their own concepts.

Despite that and the editorial showing Administration as its focus, articles that discuss Public Administration mark this first edition. From 11 articles, seven examine Public Administration, two examine questions of commercial law, one exposes statistics demonstrations and one discusses selection process using tests.

The foundations of the Administrative Science are reinforced in the second edition in June of 1947. The text on the cover page presents the "Instituto de Administração", as a new center for research and teaching. According to this text, not signed, FEA – Faculdade de Ciências Economicas e Administrativas da USP – Universidade de São Paulo could be distinguished by their function on undergraduate programs that promote professionals as economists, accountants and administrators, as well producing research in these areas. The text also shows the different sectors that constitute the Administrative area: Organization and Personal Administration, Accounting, Applied Psychology (recruitment, selection and personal adaption at work), Law, Social Sciences and Management History.

The fourth number of RAUSP, published in December of 1947, presents a report on the activities of the Instituto de Administração, written by the director of the Instituto, Mario Vagner Vieira da Cunha. This report brings important information regarding the construction of the scientific field of Administration in Brazil: (i) the editor of the Journal, also director of the Institute, discusses the difficulties inherent to research in a completely new field; (ii) presents the sectors that constitutes the Instituto de Administração as well disciplines that were offered for education in this area; (iii) presents the organization of a seminar, on Personal Administration in Industry, realized in partnership with the S system: SESI, SENAI and SENAC and a large number of companies1 that shows the intense connection of professors of the Institute to practices.

It is important to remark the relevance of the Industrial Psychology in the early beginning of the Administrative Science in RAUSP: there are many articles on selection process, tests for intelligence and personality and training and development. Many of those articles are written by four professors of the Institute, Raul de Morais, Jovino Guedes de Macedo, Eugênia Moraes de Andrade e Dulce de Godoy Alves, pioneers, and responsible for the Applied Psychology Sector at the Instituto.

Despite this first period being irregular, with many articles not related to Administrative Science, the articles on scientific process for selection and training are frequent and shows clearly the orientation for a rational and scientific organization of work. The connection with IDORT, created in 1934, reinforces the diffusion of those concepts, which are expressed on the report of First Conference on Scientific Administration, totally published on the edition of 1951. This report appoints the deep connection of professors, business people and managers of national and multinational companies, unions and also representatives of the third sector, organized for the professionalization of the management of the companies, according to the principles, internationally diffused, of Taylor's concepts.

Final remarks

In sum, articles, editorial and notes published in the four first numbers of RAUSP in 1947 shows the construction of the academic and scientific field in Business Administration in Brazil. The roots of the Journal in the area of Public Administration are visible in all these editions. It is possible to observe the strong presence of Industrial Psychology, Economics, and Law as the main "external" sciences that support the construction of this field. Another point to be highlighted is the reviews of American books that show the contact of professors with north-American references. The relation of the production of knowledge in Business Administration in Brazil influenced by the Scientific Administration is also extremely vibrant as exposed by the publication in 1951 of the report of the First Conference on Scientific Administration promoted by IDORT. It is also relevant the connection among the production of knowledge with practices in this period.

Shenhav (1999), describing the Engineer's journal in the United States on the turn of the XIX century, showed that "the magazines provided, filtered, and constructed knowledge about their organizational and technical world" (Shenhav, 1999, p. 213). The construction of the academic field in Business Administration in Brazil should be observed not as an isolate activity but immerse in a social-political and economic context of that period, when the article's authors worked not only as professors but also as consultants in private and public organizations. The article of Raul de Moraes about selection process at "Folha da Manhã" is a good example of the connection with practices. It is also important to highlight the earlier female academics in Brazil: Lucila Hermann, Eugênia Moraes de Andrade, Dulce de Godoy Alves e Ernestina Giordano. These professor are present in many articles, in different editions of RAUSP and their importance should be explore in future researches.

To conclude this paper: the use of the expression "Administrative Science", presented in the first edition of RAUSP in 1947 should be considered the foundational mark of the scientific field of Business Administration in Brazil.

1Afonso Russomano; Afonso Vibonati, Fábricas Lever; Albertina Ferreira Ramos, Elevadores Atlas; Alfredo Del Bianco, Cia Paulista de Hotéis; André Labat, Cia Paulista de Hotéis; André Pujol, Casas Sloper; Armando de Arruda Pereira, SESI; Armando Morena, Thomé Feiteira & Cia Ltda; Aroldo Hirth, SENAC; Betty Katzenstein, SENAI; Basilio M. Cavalheiro Filho; Carlos Augusto P. Queiroz, Elevadores Atlas; Carlos Eduardo Muller; Carlos de Mello; Carlos de Oliveira Penteado, SENAI; Carlos Oppenheim, Moinhos Santista S.A; Claudio Gottberg, Thomé Feiteira & Cia Ltda; D.C. Almeida, Cia Goodyear do Brasil; Domingos S. Rimoli, SENAI; Dulce de Godoy Alves, Instituto de Administração; Duilio Mercatti, Nadir Figueiredo S.A; Eduard Arnhold, Tecnocerâmica Ltda; Egon Groshschaldt, S.A.M.S.; Elisiário Penteado, SESI; Erasmo A.M. Lopes, SESI; Ernestina Giordano, Instituto de Administração; Esio Alcantara, SENAC; Francisco A. Campos; Francisco Bayerlein, SESI; Francisco Paulo Ferreira, SENAC; F. Molden.


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* Corresponding author at: Avenida Nove de Julho, 2029, CEP 01313-902 São Paulo, SP, Brazil.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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