Honors | Machiavelli and Management
H204 | 6375 | Julia Bondanella

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

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..