Manufacturing Rationality: The Engineering Foundations of the Managerial Revolution

By Yehouda Shenhav | Go to book overview

Notes
1
On the history of the Wharton School see Sass 1982.
2
Schools of management and business administration were established at Berkeley and Chicago in 1898, at Dartmouth and New York University in 1900, and at Harvard in 1908. All the rest were established thereafter. See Chandler 1977; Lash and Urry 1987.
3
For some exceptions see Lash and Urry 1987; Fligstein 1990; Freeland 1994.
4
This is typical of management theory since Taylor. Successive theories -- such as Human Relations, Open Systems, Management by Objectives, Quality Circles, Organizational Culture, among many others -- are conceptualized as the outcome of evolutionary processes. Each stage of management theory and practice is considered a better approximation of organizational reality. See also Quigel 1992.
5
McKenna 1995 does not accept the contention that engineering was the breeding ground for management ideology. He argues that after 1932 there was a proliferation of consulting firms in the United States, but contrary to common understanding, Taylorism was not the predominant influence on their development. Rather, management engineers drew on the practices of accountants, engineers, and lawyers to offer CEO-level studies of organization, strategy, and operations (p. 57).
6
To be sure, there is an important stream of literature concerning the rise of managerial ideologies (for the most indicative of this line see Bendix 1956/ 1974; Barley and Kunda 1992; Guillen 1994; Abrahamson 1997). Barley and Kunda present successive surges in the development of managerial ideology over a period of 100 years: Industrial Betterment, Scientific Management, Human Relations, System Rationalism, and Organizational Culture. While admittedly useful and informative, their study has a major drawback. It presents managerial ideology, for each period of time, as a coherent philosophy which was represented in its entirety by the management community of the time. However, management activists were not cut of the same cloth. The description of one dominant ideology per period conceals variations and conflicts that took place within each period (see Chapter 4 for a description of such cleavages). Furthermore, some literature on managerial ideology performs a quantum leap from the owner-based type of management to Frederick Taylor Scientific Management, considered the birth of managerial ideology. Peter Drucker ( 1986) went so far as to claim that Taylor had as much impact on the modern world as Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud. However, Taylor was only one actor -- albeit important and critical -- in the invention of management as a free enterprise. The sole focus on Taylor's work ignores much of the efforts made by engineers prior to his appearance, and the alternative efforts of management activists outside the scope of Scientific Management. Furthermore, it is only in relation to the other factions in the management movement that Taylorism can be understood in a contextual and historical perspective.
7
See Appendix for detailed description of the magazines.
8
To use some statistics, capital investment increased by 500 percent in the thirty-year period from 1880 to 1910. See American Machinist, 11 June 1914: 1033. Manufacturing output increased at a rate greater than population growth. The value of an establishment's average product rose from $13,429 in 1859 to $215,157 in 1919. A significant change took place in the non-agricultural workforce, which grew

-37-

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