Managing the Modern Workplace: Productivity, Politics and Workplace Culture in Postwar Britain

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Overview

A collection of interdisciplinary essays tackling issues of private and public management and its effects on productivity and workplace relations in modern Britain. This volume challenges received views on the politics of post-war labour, and brings fresh insights into the study of both private and public sector workplaces.

A recurring theme in the history of modern Britain in the twentieth-century has been the failure of its manufacturing industry and the record of disorder and conflict in the industrial workplace. This image was reinforced by the evidence of national strikes from the 1960s until 1984. This emphasis on decline and disorder in British manufacturing has distorted our understanding of workplace relationships and cultures in the post-war years. This volume provides a fresh assessment of the diverse and complex world of the workplace and Britain's production cultures during the long boom. Essays investigate the public and private sectors, and both manufacturing and service industries.

The volume begins with a comparison of labour management in the post-war automobile industry, exploring the role of the foreman in the management of shop floor labour in Britain and the USA. The following two essays are concerned with relations between management and workers in the publicly-owned corporations. The first examines negotiations over pay and effort at the Swindon locomotive works, including the cultural values which informed the behaviour of the bargainers. The second investigates managerial responses to technical change in the British gas industry. We then move into the service sector, with an essay on the management of clerical staff in banks, including a discussion ofthe different roles available to male and female workers, and the incorporation of automated technologies. The final essay looks at the involvement of the unions in workplace productivity and the extent to which Labour politics informed union behaviour.

The essays in this volume shed new light on the reasons for Britain's economic performance and opens up earlier interpretations of national decline and adversarial workplace cultures for further debate.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780754608745
  • Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Limited
  • Publication date: 2/28/2007
  • Series: Studies in Labour History Series
  • Pages: 188
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Studies in Labour History General Editor's Preface

List of Figures

List of Tables

1 Workplace Cultures and Business Performance: British Labour Relations and Industrial Output in Comparative Perspective Alan Booth Booth, Alan Joseph Melling Melling, Joseph 1

2 Fordism and the Foreman: Labour Relations and Supervisory Trade Unionism in the American and British Automobile Industries, c. 1939-1970 Joseph Melling Melling, Joseph 27

3 An Easy Life in a Railway Factory: Piecework and Shopfloor Bargaining at Swindon Locomotive Works, 1948-1963 Michael Anson Anson, Michael 49

4 The Economics and Politics of Technical Change under Public Ownership: The British Gas Industry in the 1950s and 1960s Andrew Jenkins Jenkins, Andrew 75

5 Technological Change and Gender in the Labour Policies of British Retail Banks, 1945-1970 Alan Booth Booth, Alan 101

6 Waiting for Thatcher? Trade Unionism, Labour Politics and Shop Floor Bargaining in Postwar Britain Joseph Melling Melling, Joseph Alan Booth Booth, Alan 125

Index 165

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