Louis A. Allen

Management consultant

Louis Alexander Allen (born Oct. 8, 1917) is an American management consultant and management author, known from his early work on management and organization.


  • "Ask any two managers precisely what they mean by 'staff', or 'decentralization,' or 'budget.' The differences in interpretation will make communication difficult. If we are to develop professional practices of management work, semantics requires first attention.
    • Louis. A. Allen. Common Vocabulary of Professional Management. 3rd ed. 1968. p. 1; cited in: Bedeian]] (1986; 40); Allen explains the purpose of the dictionary.
  • A manager is a leader who enables people to work most effectively together by performing primarily the work of planning, organizing, leading and controlling.
    • Louis. A. Allen. Common Vocabulary of Professional Management. 3rd ed. 1968. p. 1; cited in: Bedeian]] (1986; 41)
  • The manager is a new kind of professional, destined to take his place with the scientist and the educator in shaping the society of the future. Expert in a complex, difficult, and most demanding kind of work, the role of the professional manager is critical and his potential is unlimited. In the years ahead, competence in management will mark the difference between the leaders and the also-rans. This will hold true not only in business, but also in government and education, and in all those situations in which people wish to maximize their efforts for their common benefit.
    • Louis. A. Allen. The Management Profession, McGraw-Hill, 1964. p. viii

Management and organization, 1958


Louis A. Allen. Management and organization, McGraw-Hill, 1958.

  • Far-reaching changes have been taking place in the economy over the past twenty years. Growth and diversification mark the long-term character of the business climate. Technological improvements have been occurring with startling rapidity. New materials, new products and processes present a host of challenging opportunities to the individuals and the firms ready to exploit them. At the same time, however, short-ages in skilled manpower are prevalent, the costs of doing business have increased sharply, and there is keen competition in every aspect of enterprise.
    • p. v. ; Preface, lead paragraph
  • New and dynamic concepts of management and organization are evolving which are a measure of the span and the challenge of the business of tomorrow. These concepts are predicated upon the assumption that management is an identifiable, measurable, and transferable activity and that it can be mastered as can any other skill. Many of the older concepts of management and organization have been put to question and abandoned or replaced. Much of this new thinking has taken place so quietly and unobtrusively, even secretly, that it has not generally been reported. The fact is that some companies consider their methods of management and organization as much a competitive factor as marketing methods, applied research, or new production processes. And often they guard such information as carefully as other classified data about their businesses
    • p. v-vi
PART ONE, The Profession of Management
  • The manager is one of the great unknowns in business. Although perhaps the most common word in the corporate lexicon, the term "manager" meets with little agreement as to nature, meaning, or scope. This is all the more surprising when we consider the vital importance of precise understanding of this expression to most enterprises. Most company organization charts are studded with dozens of boxes entitled manager of one kind or another. Each such position, presumably, has been assigned management responsibility and authority. In most cases, the performance of the person holding this position is being appraised as a manager and his potential for advancement is gauged against what is assumed to be a management yardstick.
    • p. 1
  • Objectives are goals established to guide the efforts of the company and each of its components. Effective management is always management by objectives. An organization can grow and change in an orderly and progressive manner only if well-defined goals have been established to guide its progress. Not only must there be an objective for the total organization, but, since each component can accomplish only limited work, there should be spelled out division and departmental goals which serve as specific guides for subordinate units. These enable individual managers to operate with maximum freedom but always within the framework of over-all company objectives. Unless such goals are established, there is likely to be haphazard activity, uneconomical commitment of capital funds, poor utilization of people, and mediocre operating results over the long term.
    • p. 27
PART TWO, Organization for Management
  • Almost any business manager will affirm that sound organization is highly important to business success. Many will characterize organization as the foundation upon which the whole structure of management is built. Unfortunately, there are many differences of opinion as to the precise nature of organization, as of other aspects of management; and there is even less concurrence on what specific work must be accomplished in organizing.
    • p. 51
  • Organization is a mechanism or structure that enables living things to work effectively together. The evolution of life and of human society demonstrates the need for organization.
    • p. 52
  • Organization is a mechanism or structure that enables things to work effectively together. The basic elements of organization are division of labour, a source of authority, and relationships. This is true for all forms of living organizations.
    • p. 69
  • Delegation is the dynamics of management; it is the process a manager follows in dividing the work assigned to him so that he performs that part which only he, because of his unique organizational placement, can perform effectively, and so that he can get others to help him with what remains. How can he best share his burden? First, he must entrust to others the performance of part of the work he would otherwise have to do himself; secondly, he must provide a means of checking up on the work that is done for him to ensure that it is done as he wishes.
If he wants to get others to help him, the manager must first divide his work. If he requires his subordinate to perform the work as he would do it himself, the manager must entrust him with part of the rights and powers he otherwise would have to exercise himself to get that work done. If the subordinate needs to spend money, hire people, use materials or equipment, the manager must permit him to do so or the subordinate cannot perform the work.
  • p. 116
PART THREE, Dynamics of Organization
  • The organization... is not an end in itself. Organization, properly designed, can help improve teamwork and productivity by providing a framework within which people can work together most effectively. But we must relate the people to the design. In many cases, the organization structure which has technical excellence is, for practical purposes, quite useless because it is not fitted to the needs of the people it is designed to serve, ft is a lifeless pattern.
    • p. 273

Quotes about Louis A. Allen

  • The early nineteen-fifties saw the first widespread emergence of business dictionaries in the United States. The first management vocabulary, however, was not published until the year 1958. It was entitled, Common Vocabulary of Professional Management (COMVOC), and was prepared the direction of Louis A. Allen, President of Louis A. Allen Associates, Incorporated.
Through the three editions (1958, 1963, 1968) of COMVOC, its coverage has expanded from 49 to 149 basic management terms. Its adopters include numerous companies throughout the world, the majority of which have been clients of Allen Associates. Earlier editions of COMVOC are reproduced in two of Allen's earlier publications, Management and organization and The Management Profession.
Using COMVOC, the reader will quickly note that it follows a functional approach to management. Planning, organizing, leading and controlling are listed as the four functions of management...
  • Achievements include first to fully classify human work into categories, a typology which facilities diagnosis and correction of organizational problems.
    • Who's who in the West: A Biographical Dictionary of Noteworthy Men and Women of the Pacific Coast and the Western States. A.N. Marquis Company, 2004. p. xxvii
  • Prior to establishing Louis Allen Worldwide, Louis Allen was with the international consulting organisation Booz, Allen and Hamilton, Inc. His assignment focussed primarily on companies facing problems of organisational growth and development. During this assignment, he discovered that although organisations differ significantly, they also shared many similarities. He then began to distil the commonalities, organising them into a teachable form, and teaching client companies how to use this knowledge for themselves.
In January 1957, he founded LAA (Louis Allen Associates) in Palo Alto, California.The organisation’s first client was Standard Vacuum Oil Company. It was through this assignment that the fundamentals of the Allen Management System started taking shape. From then, the organisation grew substantially and received huge exposure through publications like Business Week, Steel Magazine, etc. Other clients to take advantage of Mr. Allen’s work included Cincinnati Milacron, TRW, Ford Motor Company, Kaiser Aluminium, Weyerhaeuser, Southern Counties Gas and Signal Oil and Gas.
In 1969 Louis Allen published his seminal book, The Management Profession, for which he was awarded the McKinsey Award by the Academy of Management for his contribution to the advancement of the management practice. It was in the same year that the organisation began to expand overseas: Australia, South Africa, Great Britain, Italy, West Germany, and the Philippines. Currently, Louis Allen Worldwide has representation in Brazil, Dubai, Spain, Australia, Italy, China, Egypt, Japan, Kuwait, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, and Yemen.