Honors | Machiavelli and Management
H204 | 9199 | J. Bondanella

1:00-2:15 TR FR C147

Only books that have achieved the status of a "classic" have a staying
power over the centuries.  Italian novelist Italo Calvino defined a
classic as "a book that has never finished saying what it has to say."
Generations of readers have found something of interest in such
writers as Plato, Dante, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Rousseau, Marx and
Freud.  Machiavelli's political writings, especially his Prince, have
generated centuries of controversy and debate.  "Machiavelli and
Management" introduces students to a perennial issue in social,
political and intellectual history that concerns the migration of
ideas-the creation of sets of theoretical ideas in a specific
historical and social context that are transformed, used, reused, and
even abused over time. In recent years, Machiavelli's works have given
rise to a "cottage industry" of books, which attempt to apply his
theories of political leadership in a variety of ways. His Prince is
commonly taught in introductory political theory, but his ideas
concerning the nature of political inquiry, the purpose and form of
government, and the ways of wielding of political power have had a
much broader, popular influence. Every modern dictionary contains a
definition of the adjective "Machiavellian".

This seminar will examine how a set of ideas about political
leadership rooted in a specific time and place are reformulated,
reinterpreted and then employed in completely different contexts, some
of which Machiavelli himself could never have imagined. After a brief
exploration of different concepts of leadership in the ancient and
medieval world, our discussions will focus on Machiavelli's concept of
political leadership, particularly his advice to new princes to use
such qualities as cruelty, deceit, or fear to achieve social and
political stability in a world where human beings cannot be trusted.
We shall examine how Machiavelli himself utilized these concepts in
different contexts. Our investigations will then move to the question
of how this set of political and social theories concerned with the
nature of successful leadership has come to be applied to
twentieth-century theories of political, social, business or corporate
management and feminism.


Readings for the first part of the course will include very brief
selections from Plato and other Roman and medieval writers outlining
the traditional view of the leader or prince. Then we will examine
Machiavelli's works, those in which he focuses upon the nature of
leadership: The Prince(the handbook for the successful leader, first
published in 1532); Discourses on Livy (Machiavelli's outline of a
perfect republic based upon the model of ancient Rome, first published
in 1531); and The Mandrake Root (a comedy first published in 1519
which applies Machiavelli's ideas to the private sphere rather than to
the public domain). Readings will include brief selections from some
of his Renaissance critics including Francesco Guicciardini and
Innocent Gentillet as well as Shakespeare's Richard III (1593), which
depicts and critiques the Machiavellian leader. After a brief survey
of responses to Machiavelli during the Enlightenment and the rise of
the Romantic movement, we will focus upon works that show how the
Machiavellian canon has been transformed by contemporary thinkers, who
have utilized Machiavelli's theories in quite different contexts and
for different purposes. These works will include: Antonio Gramsci's
(1891-1937) The Modern Prince, which offers the novel theory that the
modern political party must replace the individual leader; Antony
Jay's classic book, Management and Machiavelli, that draws a
comparison between states and corporations, claiming that the model
for the new science of management lies in the the old art of
government; Machiavelli, Marketing and Management (Phil Harris, Andrew
J. Lock, Patricia Rees), a book on the cutting-edge that explores
Machiavelli's management and marketing principles and their
implications/applications for management, marketing and political
thought today. This book looks not only at Machiavelli's rhetoric but
at issues in  modern management, government and ethics, marketing,
political communication and spin doctoring.

Book list:

1.  Machiavelli, Niccolò, The Portable Machiavelli (trans. & eds, P.
Bondanella, Musa), Penguin. ISBN: 0140150927

2.  Shakespeare, William, Richard III, ed. T.J.B Spencer, Viking
Press. ISBN:  0140707123 (New Penguin Shakespeare)

3. Harris, Phil, Andrew J. Lock, Patricia Rees, Machiavelli, Marketing
and Management, Routledge, 2000.  ISBN: 0415216702 (Paperback)

4.  Jay, Antony, Management and Machiavelli: Discovering a New Science
of Management in the Timeless Principles of Statecraft, Pfeiffer &
Co., 1994 (Revised, updated edition). ISBN: 0136026087

5.  Viroli, Maurizio, Niccolo's Smile: A Biography of Machiavelli,
trans. Antony Shugaar, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001. ISBN:
0374528004 (Paperback)

6. Your choice of a book displaying Machiavelli's influence from
1520-2003. You may check this book out from the library. You will be
asked to write a short book review. Happy hunting!


Grades in this class will be based on class participation, brief
written commentaries on the texts and 3 essays of 3-5 pages. You will
write one book review. You will have the opportunity to revise any of
your written work. If you have any questions about the course, feel
free to contact me at bondane@indiana.edu..