Managers and Workers: Origins of the Twentieth-Century Factory System in the United States, 1880-1920 / Edition 2

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During the early years of this century, the classic factory system of the industrial revolution evolved rapidly into a new, identifiable form that would characterize American and world industry for most of the twentieth century.  This transformation, as important for industrial managers, workers, and consumers as the initial creation of the factory, is the subject of Daniel Nelson’s illuminating synthesis, updated and expanded to include the scholarship of recent decades.
    This edition of Managers and Workers describes the interrelations between technological and organizational innovation, including such familiar developments as the spread of mass production and the emergence of scientific management, and other developments that were little known when the first edition of this book appeared, such as the revolution in factory architecture, the changing role of the foreman, and the spread of personnel work. The volume also incorporates the best scholarship of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, some of it stimulated by Managers and Workers, and includes a new chapter on the role of organized labor in the early twentieth-century factory. The focus of the work, however, remains the individual managers and workers who created the twentieth-century factory system.
    The preeminent historian of the American business firm, Alfred D. Chandler Jr. reviewed the first edition of Managers and Workers in The Journal of Economic History, predicting that this book would “long remain the standard work on the origins of the American factory.” The second edition will make that prediction true for the 1990s and beyond.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Managers and Workers is a wide-ranging yet concise introduction to the factory system that transformed America in the early twentieth century. At the center of Nelson’s story are relations between factory workers (many of them immigrants) and factory managers. Nelson deftly shows how strains in this relationship gave rise to scientific management, to Progressive reform legislation, and to national unions—the key institutions of American industrial society. . . . Managers and Workers continues to be essential reading for students and scholars of American business, labor, and social history.”—Sanford M. Jacoby, University of California-Los Angeles

Managers and Workers became an instant classic when it first appeared twenty years ago.  A second edition, incorporating later scholarship and a new chapter on labor organization, guarantees that it will remain preeminent for another twenty years—the first  book to read for every student of the history of the American factory system.”—David Brody, author of In Labor’s Cause

An examination of American factories and manufacturing focusing on the relationship of worker and manager. The revised edition describes the period's factory environment, the rise of management and a factory labor force, and the impact of progressive politics and World War I on the system. A new chapter has been added which discusses the organizational responses of factory workers to managerial innovation. Paper edition (unseen), $17.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780299148843
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1996
  • Edition description: 2nd Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel Nelson is professor and chair of the department of history at the University of Akron. Among his many books are Unemployment Insurance: The American Experience, 1915-35 and Frederick W. Taylor and the Rise of Scientific Management, both published by the University of Wisconsin Press, and Farm and Factory: Midwestern Workers, 1880-1990.

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Table of Contents

1 The Setting 3
2 The Factory Environment 11
3 The Foreman's Empire 35
4 The Rise of Scientific Management 56
5 Recruiting the Factory Labor Force 79
6 The Rise of Welfare Work 99
7 The New Factory System and the Worker 119
8 The Impact of Progressive Government 136
9 World War I 153
Epilogue 176
Notes 181
Bibliographical Note 235
Index 237
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