• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Contemporary thinking about management is still frequently presented as a set of universal, eternal verities. In this fascinating book Roy Jacques presents a discursive history of industrial work relationships in the United States which powerfully demonstrates that they are not. A central concern is to show that current `common-sense' in management forms an historically and culturally specific way of thinking about work and society which is often inappropriate for `managing for the twenty-first century'. The author is equally interested in revealing the cultural basis for American management ideas, currently exported round the world as an objective science, disconnected from its cultural and historical roots.

A New Social Contract – Industrial Reality, a Problem to Manage
A new social contract – industrial reality, a problem to manage

The terror of the 1880s and 1890s was symbolized by the clash of capital and labor, but it did not necessarily result from the malevolence of individual workers or capitalists. It was far deeper, more extensive and structural. The key axis of conflict was not capital against labor, but industrialism -symbolized by capital and labor1 – against Federalist society. Capitalist work relations had grown up outside of communitarian society and played by a different set of social rules.2 While beholden to international capitalist relationships, Federalist America had been able to treat them as peripheral. America could be imagined as the land of escape from ...

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