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Over the past thirty years or so, a body, albeit a somewhat disarticulated body, of evidence on the work of managers has accumulated. The field of study which has given…
Over the past thirty years or so, a body, albeit a somewhat disarticulated body, of evidence on the work of managers has accumulated. The field of study which has given rise to this evidence is, from time to time, subject to ‘internal’ criticisms by some of its own practitioners (Luthans and Davis 1980, Marples 1967, Mintzberg 1973, Stewart 1983) whose main contention, predictably, is that the studies do not, methodologically or analytically, always live up to their self‐imposed project. The studies in short are upbraided for what they have imperfectly done. In an earlier paper (Hales 1986) I sought to extend and add to these criticisms of studies of managers' work. I argued that the studies fail to distinguish, within the vague term ‘managerial work’, between: first, ‘management’ as a process and ‘managers’ as a particular category of agents; second, managerial work as a totality and managerial jobs as clusters of that (and other) work; third, what managers are required to do (role definition) and what they actually do (role performance) and fourth, the outputs and purpose of managerial work (managerial tasks and responsibilities) versus the inputs and practice of managerial work (managers' behaviour and activities). These ambiguities are, I suggested, symptomatic of a rather narrow empiricist approach and failure adequately to theorise the ‘management’ which managers are, apparently, doing. In this way, I wanted to arrive at, rather than merely assert, the proposition that the activities of managers cannot be adequately understood without setting them, empirically and theoretically, in a wider context.
This paper surveys the contribution of economics and industrial relations (E/IR) to the development of the field of personnel/human resource management (P/HRM). A brief…
This paper surveys the contribution of economics and industrial relations (E/IR) to the development of the field of personnel/human resource management (P/HRM). A brief review of existing accounts of the evolution of the field reveals that they give little mention to the role of E/IR. A re‐examination of the early years of P/HRM suggests, however, that this is a serious omission. It is demonstrated, for example, that E/IR was in fact the principal disciplinary base for research and teaching in P/HRM in US universities into the 1940s and that for the first two decades of the field’s existence the most influential and authoritative academic‐based writers came from the ranks of economists and economics‐trained IR scholars. After describing the reasons for this close relationship, The centrifugal forces that caused a gradual split between E/IR and P/HRM are described. This split had roots in the 1920s, became increasingly visible in the 1950s and beyond, and by the late 1980s had reached a point where the two subject areas had little intellectual or organizational interaction. The paper ends with a brief review of recent developments that herald a modest rapprochement between E/IR and P/HRM.
The purpose of this paper is to add information on which voices contributed to the scientific management narrative from Frederick Taylor’s 1915 death to the early 1930s…
The purpose of this paper is to add information on which voices contributed to the scientific management narrative from Frederick Taylor’s 1915 death to the early 1930s with a focus on the role of labor union representatives. The strategy is to analyze the role of labor representatives as participants in Taylor Society meetings and publications. The research contributes to the management history literature by bolstering the picture of the Taylor Society as a liberal, pro-labor organization. The research also shows that the Taylor Society was an early proponent of the idea that assembling diverse groups for dialogue improves organizational problem-solving.
The research analyzes historical sources including all issues of the Society’s bulletin from 1914 to 1933 and unpublished material from the Morris Cooke papers and the papers in the Frederick Taylor archive at Stevens Institute of Technology.
Taylor Society leaders took a proactive view of encouraging labor voices to join managers and academics in society meetings. At the beginning, few labor leaders spoke at the society, and often, at least some of their comments were critical of scientific management. By 1925, labor participation increased with William Green, American Federation of Labor (AFL) president appearing several times. In addition, labor leaders became positively inclined toward having scientific management experts working in industrial settings. The labor leaders who participated at Taylor Society meetings in the late 1920s and early 1930s considered scientific management insights as useful for labor and wanted to cooperate with the researchers.
The paper augments a revisionist view of interwar scientific management as progressive and pro-labor, a contested point in the management history literature. The research also shows how the Taylor Society was an early proponent of the importance of diversity, at least in the areas of gender and socioeconomic status, for effective problem-solving.
Many health care workplaces are adopting more cooperative labour‐management relations, spurred in part by sweeping changes in the economic environment that have occurred…
Many health care workplaces are adopting more cooperative labour‐management relations, spurred in part by sweeping changes in the economic environment that have occurred over the last decade. Labour‐management cooperation is seen as essential if health care organizations are to achieve their valued performance objectives. Joint labour‐management committees (LMCs) have been adopted in many health care workplaces as a means of achieving better industrial relations. Using data from a sample of Canadian union leaders in the health care sector, this paper examines the impact of labour‐management forums and labour climate on employee and organizational outcomes. Research results suggest that labour climate is less important in predicting workplace performance (and change in workplace performance) than is the number of LMCs in operation. However, labour climate is found to be at least as important in predicting union member satisfaction (and change in member satisfaction) as is the wide adoption of LMCs in operation. These findings are consistent with the notion that the greater use of LMCs is associated with augmented workplace performance (and a positive change in workplace performance), notwithstanding the contribution of the labour climate in the workplace.
Looks at the 2000 Employment Research Unit Annual Conference held at the University of Cardiff in Wales on 6/7 September 2000. Spotlights the 76 or so presentations within and shows that these are in many, differing, areas across management research from: retail finance; precarious jobs and decisions; methodological lessons from feminism; call centre experience and disability discrimination. These and all points east and west are covered and laid out in a simple, abstract style, including, where applicable, references, endnotes and bibliography in an easy‐to‐follow manner. Summarizes each paper and also gives conclusions where needed, in a comfortable modern format.
This chapter addresses a practical industrial relations problem, namely the absence of a monitoring framework to assess and improve labor–management relations in…
This chapter addresses a practical industrial relations problem, namely the absence of a monitoring framework to assess and improve labor–management relations in organizations. The authors argue that assessing and improving organizational labor relations requires attention to both vertical and horizontal alignments of labor relations institutions and practices. Vertical alignment refers to the internal consistency across the strategic, functional, and workplace levels noted by Kochan, Katz, and McKersie in their strategic choice framework (1986). Drawing on two “best practice” labor relations cases, Saturn and Kaiser Permanente as well as two original case studies of healthcare organizations, the authors develop the notion of horizontal alignment, i.e., the internal consistency across labor relations processes, substantive issues, and outcomes.
We examine, from an institutional perspective, labor management structures in China's foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs). Focusing on the adoption of two Chinese-style…
We examine, from an institutional perspective, labor management structures in China's foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs). Focusing on the adoption of two Chinese-style and two Western-style labor structures, we seek to understand the influences of global capitalism vis-à-vis those of China's domestic institutions which themselves are undergoing market-oriented transformations. Our empirical analysis is based on data collected in a national survey of FIEs conducted in 1996. The results show that a significant proportion of FIEs localize their labor practices by adopting Chinese-style structures and that the extent of localization is shaped by both institutional processes and strategic considerations. We also find that the two Chinese-style structures effectively reduce tension and conflict between labor and management, whereas the two Western-style structures do not appear to serve such function. These findings underscore the potency of the Chinese institutional environment and reveal how organizational interest interacts with institutional forces, giving rise to a distinctively “local” mixture of managerial structures and practices in the era of globalization.
Robert Franklin Hoxie was of the first generation of University of Chicago economists, a figure of significance in his own time. He is often heralded as the first of the…
Robert Franklin Hoxie was of the first generation of University of Chicago economists, a figure of significance in his own time. He is often heralded as the first of the Institutional economists and the impetus behind the field of labor economics. Yet today, his contributions appear as mere footnotes in the history of economic thought, when mentioned at all, despite the fact that in his professional and popular writings he tackled some of the most pressing problems of the day. The topics upon which he focused included bimetallism, price theory, methodology, the economics profession, socialism, syndicalism, scientific management, and trade unionism, the last being the field with which he is most closely associated. His work attracted the notice of some of the most famous economists of his time, including Frank Fetter, J. Laurence Laughlin, Thorstein Veblen, and John R. Commons. For all the promise, his suicide at the age of 48 ended what could have been a storied career. This paper is an attempt to resurrect Hoxie through a review of his life and work, placing him within the social and intellectual milieux of his time.
Presents 35 abstracts from the 2001 Employment Research Unit Annual conference held at Cardiff Business School in September 2001. Attempts to explore the theme of changing…
Presents 35 abstracts from the 2001 Employment Research Unit Annual conference held at Cardiff Business School in September 2001. Attempts to explore the theme of changing politics of employment relations beyond and within the nation state, against a background of concern in the developed economies at the erosion of relatively advanced conditions of work and social welfare through increasing competition and international agitation for more effective global labour standards. Divides this concept into two areas, addressing the erosion of employment standards through processes of restructuring and examining attempts by governments, trade unions and agencies to re‐create effective systems of regulation. Gives case examples from areas such as India, Wales, London, Ireland, South Africa, Europe and Japan. Covers subjects such as the Disability Discrimination Act, minimum wage, training, contract workers and managing change.
Taylorism and scientific management, as significant components of productive relations in the USA during the early twentieth century, have been examined by accounting…
Taylorism and scientific management, as significant components of productive relations in the USA during the early twentieth century, have been examined by accounting historians representing the major paradigms that hold sway in contemporary historiography – the Foucauldian, the Marxist (labour process), and the economic rationalist (Neoclassical). The great bulk of this work has assumed that the major tenets of scientific management, such as time study, incentive wage schemes, standard costing, and variance analysis, were in common usage during the first two decades of the current century. This paper intends to set the record straight by demonstrating that theory was running far ahead of practice in that the number of actual adoptions of the new methods were not concomitant with the prevalence of scientific management literature. Subsequently, the paper will endeavour to show how the three major paradigms combine to enhance our understanding of Taylorism. Much of what Taylor wrote can be interpreted within a Foucauldian framework; the negative reaction of organised labour was much in the Marxist tradition; and, finally, the lack of applications in practice reflected economically rational action on the part of entrepreneurs (thereby completing the triangle).