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Democracy, scientific management and urban reform: The case of the Bureau of Municipal Research and the 1912 New York City School Inquiry

Hindy Lauer Schacter (New Jersey Institute of Technology, New Jersey, USA)

Journal of Management History (Archive)

ISSN: 1355-252X

Article publication date: 1 June 1995

Abstract

Analyses the Bureau of Municipal Research′s (BMR) role in the 1912 New York City School Inquiry to show the democratic orientation of key people trying to transfer scientific management to government. Because much modern public administration literature portrays scientific management as authoritarian, some people assume its proponents wanted to shut the populace out of public‐sector decision making by transfering power from elected officials to experts. The School Inquiry case shows how important reformers committed to scientific management sought to maximize the control that elected officials had over a key administrative function. The BMR stressed this democratic point of view until threats from its principal financial backer forced it to downplay its voice on educational issues and its innovative concept of efficient citizenship.

Keywords

Citation

Lauer Schacter, H. (1995), "Democracy, scientific management and urban reform: The case of the Bureau of Municipal Research and the 1912 New York City School Inquiry", Journal of Management History (Archive), Vol. 1 No. 2, pp. 52-64. https://doi.org/10.1108/13552529510088321

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MCB UP Ltd

Copyright © 1995, MCB UP Limited