The Institute of Management Services began life in 1941 as the Institute of Estimators, Planning and Time Study Engineers. It was the first British professional body concerned wholly with productivity. In 1942 the Institute changed its name to the Institute of Economic Engineering. In 1946 the Production Control Research Group merged with the institute. In 1953 the Institute changed its name to the Society of Industrial Engineers.
In parallel, the Work Study Society was formed in 1943, with name changes in 1944 to become the Motion Study Society, in 1945 to become the Motion Study Society of Great Britain, and finally in 1954 to become the Work Study Society.
The Work Study Society and the Society of Industrial Engineers merged in 1958 under the title of Work Study Society. This name was changed to the Institute of Work Study in 1959.
The Institute of Industrial Technicians was established in 1945, changing its name in 1960 to the Institute of Incorporated Work Study Technologists. This body merged with the Institute of Work Study in 1964 to form the Institute of Work Study Practitioners.
In 1962 the Organisation and Methods Society was formed and worked closely with the Institute of Work Study Practitioners. In 1975 both bodies merged to form the Institute of Practitioners in Work Study, Organisation and Methods. The Institute changed its name in 1978 to the Institute of Management Services.