Manufacturing Rationality: The Engineering Foundations of the Managerial Revolution

Paperback | March 1, 2002

byYehouda Shenhav

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Management is a powerful mode of thought and code of conduct in the modern world, closely associated with the American way and a natural extension of economic progress. This is a book about the history and development of management and managerial rationality in the United States in thenineteenth century and the early decades of the twentieth century.Through careful analysis of contemporary records in the engineering profession, the author shows how management invented itself and carved its own domain in the face of hostility and resistance from both manufacturers and workers. The book demonstrates how the new language and rhetoric of managementemerged, and how it confronted and replaced the language of traditional capitalism: 'system' instead of 'individuals'; 'jobs' instead of 'natural rights'; 'planning' instead of 'free initiatives'.Manufacturing Rationality can be read simultaneously as an historical account of the genesis of modern management, a chapter in the history of American capitalism, a critical analysis of industrial engineering, and as a sociology of (managerial) knowledge.

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Management is a powerful mode of thought and code of conduct in the modern world, closely associated with the American way and a natural extension of economic progress. This is a book about the history and development of management and managerial rationality in the United States in thenineteenth century and the early decades of the twe...

Yehouda Shenhav is Associate Professor of Sociology at Tel-Aviv University. He holds a Ph.D. degree in Sociology from Stanford University (1985) and an M.Sc. degree from the Faculty of Industrial Engineering at the Israel Institute of Technology (1981). Shenhav taught at several universities in the United States, including Stanford Un...

other books by Yehouda Shenhav

Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.57 inPublished:March 1, 2002Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199250006

ISBN - 13:9780199250004

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Prophets of Management: American Engineers between Industrial Growth and Labor Unrest2. Engineering Rationality: 'System Shall Replace Chaos'3. Colonizing the Mind: The Translation of Systematization to the Management of Organizations4. Contested Rationality: Disturbances, Controversies, and Opposition to Management Systems5. Engineers, Labor Politics, and American Exceptionalism before 19006. Taming the Shrew: Systems and Labor Politics during the Progressive Period7. Deus ex Machina: Concluding RemarksAppendix. Description of the Engineering-Management Literature

Editorial Reviews

`Yehouda Shenhav rewrites business history in this magisterial account of the role of engineers in the American management revolution. That revolution, Shenhav demonstrates, was spearheaded by engineers, whose rational, calculated precepts of work organization depoliticized the relationshipbetween labor and capital. Modern management's rhetorical claim to neutrality stands on this technical foundation. This elegant and compelling study undercuts conventional efficiency arguments about the rise of modern management.'Frank Dobbin, Princeton University, 1999