Lawrence A. Appley

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Lawrence Asa "Larry" Appley (1904 - April 4, 1997) was an American management specialist and organizational theorist, known for his early work on management and organization, especially quality management.


  • In our company we have had the experience if starting our appraisal at the top level. It was my privilege to serve on the staff of the president if our company as he appraised those people who reported directly to him. He made his own notes and he acted as a chairman of the meeting. Subsequently, I saw the reflection of his conscientiousness when the three vice presidents sat together as a committee and appraised the people who report directly to them. They, too, took the same painstaking care.
That sort of participation compels top management to take an interest in the matter and look with an impersonal view at the higher levels of the management group. And, as it percolates down to succeedingly lower levels, those lower levels- reflect downward just exactly the image that they have caught from above. :I cannot over-emphasize the compelling need for this participation by top management. It gives to all the participants a more sharply focused picture of the strengths and weaknesses of the organization, and it enables management to do an increasingly more effective job of administration and supervision. In an effort to define the term "management," an AMA seminar arrived at the following definition: "Management is the development of people and not the direction of things." Surely, when the top level of a management is characterized by a sincere belief in the importance of the growth of its people, that management will always have successors available.
  • Lawrence A. Appley (?), in: Personnel Series, (1953), p. 26
  • Management is the accomplishment of results through the efforts of other people.
    • Lawrence Appley and the American Management Association, cited in: Michigan Business Review, Vol. 11-12 (1959), p. 3
  • The highest standard for each individual is that which his conscience tells him is best.
    • Lawrence A. Appley (1963) The Management Evolution
  • Management is the development of people and not the direction of things ... Management is personnel administration.
    • Lawrence A. Appley, as cited in R.D. Agarwal (1982). Organization and Management. p. 4

Preface to Planning and developing the company organization structure. 1952


Lawrence A. Appley. "Preface" in: Ernest Dale, Planning and developing the company organization structure. No. 20. American Management Association, 1952.

  • The application of systematic methods to the conduct of business is one of the most striking developments of the present day. The successful pursuit of business activities is increasingly based on carefully developed plans and well-ordered arrangements. The body of knowledge, called Organization, has become increasingly helpful in accomplishing the objectives of the enterprise.
    • p. 5
  • This book is an analysis of the development and change of the organization structure of the individual company. It is an attempt to combine the systematic thinking on this subject with the "rule of thumb" of practical experience. It essays an integration of the formal structure of the enterprise with the human forces that mold and are molded by it. Thus it is designed to aid the practical man of affairs as well as the student of organization.
The study is confined largely to the organization of manufacturing companies, with some reference to retail and service activities. Limitations of space and time have made impossible a detailed discussion of such related and important topics as planning company activities, establishing policies, procedures, and controls. Each of these subjects merits a study of its own.
The main body of the report is divided into two parts: Part I deals with the dynamics of organization. This is an analysis of the major organizational problems as they arise at various stages of a company's growth. Part II deals with the mechanics of organization. It offers detailed guidance for analyzing the existing structure and modifying or changing it, in the light of the best established practices, to conform to the needs of the individual company.
  • p. 5

"Management and the American Future," 1954


Lawrence A. Appley, "Management and the American Future," Management at Mid-Century, 1954

  • [the professional manager is] an individual who, because of his training, experience, and competence, is employed to develop and expand the assets and realizations of owners.
  • The future of America is dependent upon the caliber of management to be found in the ranks of business and industry. It is management that sets the pace and motivates labor to do its job. It is the combination of a courageous, competent management and a high-moraled, highly productive labor force that makes more things available for more people, and therefore, increases the standard of living.
This management competency which is able to motivate labor to greater productivity requires sensitivity to certain moral obligations to the community. It must be understood by such management that our present form of society can be preserved only when those on the receiving end of leadership experience that for which democracy stands. If people are to know what a democracy really is, then they must enjoy its benefits in their work, as well as in their play. They must really feel and believe that their bosses are interested in them as individuals and in their development to the fullest potential of character, personality, and individual productivity.
The greatest doctors, teachers, lawyers, and engineers are those who have some sense of the human values involved in their work. So it is and will continue to be with managers. The price of leadership is criticism, but its more-than-compensating reward is sense of attainment.
  • Cited in: Smiddy and Naum. (1957; 42)

Quotes about Lawrence A. Appley

  • Lawrence A. Appley, a Methodist minister’s son who served on the boards of 35 corporations and for almost 45 years preached the gospel of quality management in corporate life and Government service, died on Friday at his home in Hamilton, N.Y. He was two weeks short of his 93d birthday.
Mr. Appley was most visible from 1948 to 1968, when he was president of the American Management Association, the world’s biggest and oldest management education organization. From 1968 until 1974 he was chairman of the association’s board.
  • Edwin McDowell. "Lawrence Appley, 92, an Expert on Management," in: New York Times. April 9, 1997.
  • Lawrence A. Appley, 92, an authority on quality management and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Merit, died Friday in Hamilton, N.Y. He was on the boards of 35 corporations and preached management that emphasized human relations over technology.
    • Baltimore Sun news, April 10, 1997