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Manufacturing the Employee

Manufacturing the Employee
Management Knowledge from the 19th to 21st Centuries

  • Roy Jacques - Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand

December 1995 | 240 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
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.

Roy Jacques considers: the Federalist world of the U S (c 1800-1870) and the traces of 19th century `pre-management' notions continuing in 20th century management and industrial discourse; the emergence and development of industrial organization and big business; the profound remapping of the boundaries of social life which occurred with the creation of jobs and wages; and the evolving construction of the employee as increasingly a disciplinary subject of psychological, personnel and general management knowledge. He also looks at several major current management and organizational topics such as: motivation, leadership and power in organizations; productivity and efficiency; work and the family; ideas about Total Quality Management, Business Process Re-engineering, `knowledge work' and so on.

Managing for the Next Century - or the Last?
Evolutionary and Discursive Histories of Knowledge
Federalist Reality
The Pre-History of Management

The Demise of Federalist Reality
`The Birth of a Nation'

A New Social Contract
Industrial Reality, a Problem to Manage

The Disciplinary World of L'employ[ac]e
The Struggle of Memory against Forgetting
Managerialist Thought as a Conceptual Prison


`Roy Jacques has, in this book, produced a most remarkable and fascinating analysis both of the nature of the history of managment knowledge and of episodes within that history. It is a book which could and should be read with pleasure and profit by almost anyone with an interest in management and organizations. It directly, coherently and accessibly challenges much current commonsense about management and to my way of thinking is one of the most important studies of management to have been published.... In sum, I found this a tremendously stimulating and rewarding read which I have recommended to colleagues and to students' - Management Learning (Christopher Grey, University of Leeds

Yet as often as I made margin notes that said "what about..." more often I scribbled "interesting", "intriguing", fascinating" or some other laudatory comment.... Roy Jacques has explained why current practices will not work and why we need to examine our basic premises for studying organizations. Read this book - you may learn something' - Personnel Psychology

'Manufacturing the Employee is an antidote to the one-dimensional view of organisational reality provided by some management texts. Although Jacques is not the first to explore this territory, this book is a useful addition to the debates about the future of organisations and the future of understanding about organisations' - Work, Employment & Society

`Roy Jacques presents a detailed discursive historical analysis of US work organizations and the ways of thinking that have informed their development. Revealing the importance and inseparability of "past", "present" and "future" in the complex processes that constitute organization, he has produced a stimulating and at times provocative text that all those interested in the analysis of workplace processes should read' - David Collinson, University of Warwick

`The book is clearly written, contains welcome and witty debunking of what passes for knowledge in business schools, demonstrates depth and breadth in preparation, and grapples with important.. contemporary issues.' - Reviewing Sociology

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ISBN: 9780803979161
ISBN: 9780803979154

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