Manufacturing Rationality: The Engineering Foundations of the Managerial Revolution

By Yehouda Shenhav | Go to book overview

opposition in certain quarters to the wise plans of the Council of ASME for the broadening of its scope in the true professional sense'. The editors sided with the older oligarchy and condemned this opposition: 'any efforts to oppose the plans of the administration cannot be considered as otherwise than detrimental and unadvised'. The editors believed that 'Such an organization as the ASME can not stand still; it must progress, and its advance must be upward as well as forward; Such an advance does not mean an accelerated increase in membership . . . The real progress must appear in its contribution to knowledge, in the results of its work as evidenced by the fame of its members and the importance and magnitude of their work.'According to the editors, 'It is evident that such a line of progress means increased expenditure as compared with the slower increase in resources . . . We regret to see, in some quarters, a short-sighted attempt to oppose such far-seeing plans, and to appeal to local and personal elements to hamper and hinder the obvious work which lies before the organization (' Editorial', Engineering Magazine, December 1901: 423).

As early as 1897, a large number of articles on accountancy systems emerged, carrying such titles as ' Mine Accounts', ' Cost Keeping Methods in Machine Shops and Foundry', ' An Effective System of Finding and Keeping Shop Costs', or ' A Simple and Effective System of Shop Cost Keeping'. In 1899-1900, there was a growing number of articles on wage systems, production control, and inventory control. The main contributors to the development of these issues during 1891-1916 were (ordered by their quantity of contribution): C. E. Knoeppel (who was Taylor's disciple and worked with Emerson in his New York consulting firm), Harrington Emerson (who chaired the Efficiency Society), Charles U. Carpenter, Alexander Hamilton Church, Horace Lucian Arnold, 6 and Henry Gantt. Fewer contributions were made by Lewis Slater, Carl Barth, and Henry Towne. Some were active systematizers (e.g. Church), or efficiency engineers (e.g. Emerson), while others were writers in the technical press with an interest in management and labor (e.g. Arnold). In 1916, Engineering Magazine gradually turned into an exclusive management publication. Management was not conceived only as a technical matter but dealt with cultural issues as well. For example, an article entitled ' "Negroes as a Source of Industrial Labor"' was published in 1918. Under the sub-heading ' "Irish Make Good Negro Bosses"', the writer discussed the 'fitness' of blacks to the machine shop. He observed that 'an engine room full of negroes under an Irish boss would do quite as good work as a room full of German square-heads' ( Industrial Management, August 1918: 123-9). The author emphasized the importance of the management function particularly given the lack of industrial habits among blacks. The writer suggests going 'easy on the negro: we accuse the negro of laziness. His ancestors picked their food from a bush, fished it out of a stream, or speared it in the next block. Why should he inherit a feverish desire to work?' The writer concluded with two suggestions for engineers practicing supervision: 'firmness [is] needed with the Negro' and someone must think for the Negro'. These statements attest to the then prevailing racist attitudes toward African-Americans within the American society.


Notes
1
In 1907 another staff member, J. Wallace Carrel, who subsequently became general manager of the Lodge and Shipley Company, made a similar survey for the Machinist.

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