Manufacturing the Employee: Management Knowledge from the 19th to 21st Centuries
Publication Year: 1996
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.
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
- Chapter 1: Managing for the Next Century – or the Last?
- Chapter 2: Evolutionary and Discursive Histories of Knowledge
- Chapter 3: Federalist Reality – the Pre-History of Management
- Chapter 4: The Demise of Federalist Reality – ‘The Birth of a Nation’
- Chapter 5: A New Social Contract – Industrial Reality, a Problem to Manage
- Chapter 6: The Disciplinary World of L'employé
- Chapter 7: The Struggle of Memory against Forgetting: Managerialist Thought as a Conceptual Prison
© Roy Jacques 1996
First published 1996
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without permission in writing from the Publishers.
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No industrial relation can long survive the reasons for its being.(Margaret Schaffner, 1907)
This book is a history of l'employé – the employee. By telling his/her story, I will attempt to show that contemporary management knowledge forms a culturally and historically specific way of thinking about work and society. I will show the incompatibility between the context from which management thinking arose and the problems of ‘managing for the twenty-first century’ as posed in today's business and academic press. I will question the dominant habits of thought which, having become ‘common sense’, prevent constructive analysis of today's organizational problems.‘…And the Wisdom to Know the Difference’
‘The pretense that corporations are necessary for the better government of the trade, is without any foundation.’
This anti-corporate rhetoric is not from Karl Marx, but Adam Smith, whose Wealth of Nations is a cornerstone of modern economic thinking. According to Smith, ‘The real and effectual discipline which is exercised over a workman, is not that of his corporation, but that of his customers’ (1776/1937: 129). How is one to interpret this obsrvation? Was Smith an early advocate of self-managing work teams? Was he more radical than Marx? Was he pro- or anti-capitalist? Without a context to aid interpretation, this observation can mean anything and thus means nothing. Yet, to have an opinion on Smith is important today because his metaphor of the invisible hand is one of the central icons used to defend the positive social value of corporate capitalism.
Alfred Sloan, who with Pierre DuPont was one of the chief architects of General Motors, claimed in his memoir not to be anti-union. Rather, he explained, ‘our initial reaction to unionism was negative,’ because of
the persistent union attempt to invade basic management prerogatives. Our rights to determine production schedules, to set work standards, and to discipline workers were all suddenly called into question. Add to this the recurrent tendency of the union to inject itself into pricing policy. (Sloan, 1964: 406)
What is a ‘basic management prerogative’? Is worker possession of these responsibilities and privileges the only ‘real and effective discipline’ [Page viii]preventing corporate ‘fraud’ and ‘negligence’ as Adam Smith contended? If so, how can management's rights to them be a ‘basic’ prerogative? Without a context for thinking about these inconsistencies, we will organize and manage based on the tyranny of ‘common sense,’ which is nothing more than our unexamined and entrenched biases.
The complexity of societies and their institutions gives them a great deal of inertia; they change slowly. At any point in time, almost everything is unchangeable. This supports deterministic views that change results from societal ‘evolution’ or autonomous forces in ‘the environment.’ I consider this an abdication of social responsibility. My (stereotypically American) assumption is that the main purpose of inquiry is to identify the little which can be changed, to assess the limits of the possible and to anticipate the consequences of various actions. Societies are not voluntaristic in the sense that they can be rationally planned, but a central component of social action has to do with taking responsibility for one's choices and acting purposefully in relation to one's values.
But, when change can be effected only in localized pockets of the complex web of social relationships, how can one best leverage one's efforts to work for change where change is actually possible? This is the main contribution an historical perspective can make. If one has a sense of where a social relationship began and how it changed, one can better understand where it is currently heading. If one knows past points of rigidity and of responsiveness, one can analogize profitably to present situations. As this book will hopefully illustrate, historical perspective can lead one to seriously reconsider both what constitutes a problem and what possible paths exist to address problems.
Bear in mind that even if one's goal in theorizing about organizations is to have an effect on them, not every aspect of theorizing is best directed toward immediate action. Sometimes, one should stand back and reflect on the process of effecting change. If this book gives the reader insights s/he can apply in organizations, so much the better, but three goals are more important. The first, for those of us who engage directly in organizations, is to reflect on the absence of norms, processes and institutions to foster dialogue about issues that go beyond immediate problems. Second, for those of us engaged in theorizing, how can the current obsession with hypothesis confirmation be broadened to include reflection on the role of the management disciplines within the broader currents of the social sciences and on the role of academic knowledge within today's, and tomorrow's, societies? Third, for both theorists and practitioners, how can a dialogue be developed between contemporary problems/problem-solvers and expert knowledge production? Knowledge about organizations can be thought of as a set of tools. In a changing world, it is periodically useful to step back from asking how tools can be used, asking instead what tools need repair or replacement and what new tools – and new tool-users – are appearing or are needed.[Page ix]Some Issues of Method, Perspective and Scope
This book is not an attempt to reclaim the meanings of the past. It is an effort to better understand the post-industrial future into which the most-industrialized countries are now heading – with the rest of the world in tow. It is becoming less and less controversial to allege that these are times of transformational change. Some proclaim the advent of the post-industrial, others the postmodern. Where these changes are heading is still anybody's guess, but they pose a serious problem for knowledge about organizing: in times of transformation, not only do new problems arise; old ways of looking at problems become problems themselves. Ways of thinking that evolved in response to the problems of a previous era sediment over time into ‘common sense.’ Because such sedimented belief forms the structure of assumptions into which one places problems for analysis, new problems must be represented using old frameworks, old language and concepts. Only the portions of new problems reflecting the past era are representable; that which is genuinely novel is both unrepresented and unsuspected. As Thomas Kuhn has argued, a system of thinking is never refuted by mere data.
This book will show that current attempts to theorize this emerging future embody a common sense that is a product of industrialism. I do not proffer an agenda for managing tomorrow's organizations. To do so would be necessarily superficial and premature. First, we must create a more comprehensive forum for discussing the problems of tomorrow by articulating ways that today's problems are constrained by yesterday's. Whether one focuses on industrial management, industrial unionism or industrialized practices of education, there is reason to ask whether - not simply how -these institutions will be related to organizational practice in the presently emerging world.
Because it is the purpose of this book to present and question broad currents of change over a wide-ranging area of analysis, it should not be judged by the same standards as a specialized study. I am not as expert in historiography as the historians, in sociology as the sociologists and so forth. My argument draws freely on secondary sources as well as original texts. In this project, I believe I hold true to the vision of organizational research as an applied social science. I have merely used some reference disciplines less commonly drawn upon as resources for understanding the management of organizations. Those familiar with these other disciplines will see that much of what I have ‘discovered’ might better be described as recovered. Much of the forgotten history of management knowledge lies ‘hidden’ right before our eyes – the original texts of Taylor or McGregor, the statements of those who engineered the first large bureaucratic organizations in the US within the last century, critiques existing in sociology, and so much more. One of the amazing aspects of researching this book has been the accessibility of this history. My claim is not to have produced a great deal of new material, but to [Page x]have organized this material in a way that may contribute to thinking differently about problems that currently perplex those seeking to adapt today's organizations to changing times.
Hopefully, this book will be an equal opportunity offender. Nobody is likely to agree with all of my points. Critical theorists may find my incrementalist views too accommodating to the status quo. Many managerialist theorists will object to the mere fact that I brand as an ism what they view as disinterested, socially neutral science. A few of my propositions go well beyond ‘the data’ (although no more so than ideas such as the Big Bang and evolution). Some are intended to be outrageous (though never frivolous or insincere) to discourage passive consumption by you, the reader. It is not my desire to precisely grasp some small element of today's organizational world, but to roughly map the broad currents flowing through this world. If I am occasionally washed overboard, so much the better. To have made no errors is to have taken no risks. This book is in no way intended to be the final word on anything. I offer it as fodder for a discussion I hope to see beginning regarding values, social life and the role of organizing. In the workplace, this dialogue has already begun – haltingly. It remains an open question whether and in what role the dialogue will include academic ‘organizational science.’ What this book is not is an ivory-tower polemic; it is intended as a tool for managing and organizing. Perhaps some personal background can help to show how this may be so.Background
When I first applied to doctoral programs a decade ago I saw (and see) myself as a pragmatic person, a practicing manager in the field of financial software development. My decision to return to school was motivated by two very concrete questions: (1) why don't organizations work better than they do?; (2) why was my MBA degree of so little use in answering the first question?
When I finally entered my doctoral program, I quickly learned two things about management education. First, having returned to school with what I considered relatively specific interests and problems for study, I was quite amazed to find that in what I would now call the ‘disciplinary’ school of business there are no business problems. There are only accounting problems, finance problems, human resource problems, and so forth. Even within the department where I finally got my degree, problems were divided into human resource management (HRM), organizational behavior (OB), organizational theory (OT) and policy. Thinking like ‘the practitioner,’ I found my interests transected the school's disciplinary boundaries. Nobody in business has ‘an OB problem.’ There is an OB aspect to every problem, but there is also an accounting aspect, a policy aspect and so forth. So my first lesson as an academic was that I must choose between working on the problems of business people or those of the business disciplines (and we [Page xi]perpetually wonder why ‘the practitioner’ fails to read our research or come to our conferences!).
The second thing I learned was that, even compared to the relative conservatism of business, the boundaries of business school discourse are surprisingly narrow. As it is with most of the mid-career doctoral students I meet in my current teaching position, issues of organizational power were central to the questions I brought from the business world. I quickly learned that power was a peripheral topic and one the savvy management scholar avoided lest s/he be branded insufficiently soft on Marxism. There was also the question of language. The business world is a pidgin language,1 a polyglot of overlapping dialects. The business school speaks the artificially clarified and semantically impoverished language of hypothesis testing alone. Because of my training in biology, computer information systems and business, and my work background supporting financial forecasting software for hospital budgeting analysts, I find the language of statistics useful -where appropriate2 – but the paradigmatic insistence that anything of value in organizational studies can be expressed as a statistically significant difference struck me (then and now) as unnecessarily limiting, counterproductive and, frankly, somewhat silly. One can produce useful knowledge without being a scientist and one does not become a scientist simply by adopting the forms of scientific inquiry.
As my socialization as a management scholar continued, I learned that expressing any doubts about the adequacy of probability theory to produce a paradigmatic science of business and any resistance to reshaping problems to fit the disciplinary structure of the academy was ‘radical;’ lockstep conformity to restrictive norms of inquiry was enforced informally, yet effectively, by The Four But's. ‘You can do that but…’ one is told by those presumed to know: ‘…it won't constitute a dissertation,’ ‘… it won't be publishable,’ ‘… you won't get a job if you write that,’ or ‘… you won't get tenured.’ Thus, potentially fresh insights are put on ice for a decade or more, by which time the subject is encrusted like a barnacle in research s/he has been told is ‘safe.’ Thus, the boundaries of the discipline continue to narrow, solidify and become ever more out of step with the broader society. I am no bolder than my peers, but I had the good fortune to enter a doctoral program that never enforced conformance to these norms. Even those who thought my studies a bit odd were generally tolerant and often constructive. As a result, I could remain ‘pragmatic;’ that is, I could follow the interests I had developed as a manager and pursue whatever studies helped me answer the questions I had brought with me from the business world.
As these interests led into comparative literature, philosophy and nursing, even I began to wonder if my studies were turning into an academic [Page xii]shell game. These doubts accumulated as the years passed. The turning point came in 1991 when I was doing field research on a nursing unit in a large teaching hospital. What I saw and how I saw it were profoundly shaped by the detours I had taken into post-analytic thought and feminist theorizing. To paraphrase an overly quoted aphorism, I found there was nothing quite so practical as a good feminist-poststructuralist theory.
1 Linguistically, a pidgin is any language with no native speakers; one used for communication between cultures of origin.
2 In this context, I would define ‘appropriate’ as providing answers to problems that are found useful by those posing the problems and by their client constituencies.
Given the emotionally laden fault lines in academia, it would be easy to pigeonhole this book, based on terms or topics, as the work of a theorist congenitally suffering from nihilistic, Nietzschean relativism (to synthesize the three most common epithets). I ask your forbearance. This book developed from an attempt to better understand concrete workplace problems; it is presented as a means for better addressing them. If the story occasionally disappears into the ozone layer of epistemology, it is for a reason – this ozone layer is also becoming thin and we deplete it, too, at our own peril. If my story is sometimes critical, it is because I believe critique is necessary to dislodge long-established habits of doing and thinking that increasingly block, rather than facilitate, useful action. You will not find this book offering five points you can apply at the office next Tuesday. Still, it emerges from the problems of a practitioner and is intended to offer insights useful for changing practice.You, the Reader
This book has been written to reflect the needs of several distinct readerships. I believe it has potential value for both the academic and the student or practicing manager, as well as for the US reader and the reader in other countries.For Academics
My primary goal in writing this book has been to provide a short history of American management discourse that can be used as a supplemental text in HRM, general management, OB, OT and other classes. In that role, I hope the book contextualizes the history of management and the employee in a way that stimulates discussion of today's emerging trends and their implications for organizing. At the same time, I have attempted to produce a work that can be taken on its own merits by scholars. Much of the detail necessary to support such an essay has been placed in footnotes, outside the main text, but accessible to the serious reader.For Managers and Students
For the reader who is not a theoretician, most of the footnote material will contain unnecessary detail. I have made a sustained attempt to trim the main text to contain only a story that helps the practitioner, future practitioner or [Page xiii]change agent to think about contemporary problems of organizing. Granted, this story often moves a long way from the nuts and bolts of organizational how-to lists. For the reader who will exercise a bit of patience, however, I believe this distance brings the reward of additional perspective not available to those who keep their noses pressed to the proverbial grindstone. Sometimes, especially in times of discontinuous change, stepping back to re-assess is more practical than obsessively pushing ahead at the same old problems in habitual ways.For US Readers
In writing this book, my own perspective has been changed. My initial goal was to show how industrial-era US values interfere with understanding emerging problems of a post-industrial society. As my research progressed, I learned that the problem went deeper. Although the American Dream within which management thought and institutions developed was significantly reshaped by industrialism, its core elements are pre-industrial. They depend upon a conceptual language of frontier, community, small-town life and individual self-sufficiency which are not part of the lived experience of most contemporary US workers. For the US reader, this book is intended to create new possibilities for dialogue, problem-solving and action by helping to show how this Federalist mythology restricts our theory and our practice.For Readers outside the US
If you are reading this book in Bombay or Liverpool, Jakarta or Rio, of what interest is a past era of US history? Is this not merely another example of American ethnocentrism? Hopefully not. The MBA, the business school, managerial publishing and consulting are all US export products. Little or no attempt is made by ‘the manufacturer’ to determine whether this product is compatible with your culture, history or values. Demystifying this product and articulating its limitations can be facilitated by better understanding the processes through which the industrial Northeast of the US colonized the rest of the country, which then proceeded to economically and culturally colonize the world.
This has been especially true since the Second World War, after which the only intact major industrial economy in the world was that of the US. In the decades following, this historical coincidence has often been mistaken for genuine superiority (most often, of course, in the US itself). From the Marshall Plan to the more recent gold rush to ‘help’ the benighted former Soviet economies, Americans have quite unreflectively proselytized our culturally specific management beliefs to others as objective and universal truths for organizing work relationships. You in other countries cannot separate the wheat from the chaff in US management knowledge without understanding it as a cultural product. By contextualizing the history of management as culturally bound up with the Euro-American tradition, we [Page xiv]can re-frame questions of other races from ‘why don't they get it?’ to ‘how did the question get narrowed to this particular subset of experience?’ For instance, Americans regularly publish articles about ‘the troubled Black family’ or ‘saving the Black family,’ when a stronger appreciation of African cultures could lead to reformulating the question as ‘what could be learned about families from the survival of Black America through three centuries of exclusion from white culture?’
Hopefully, this book will contribute to the possibility of other analyses dealing with the specific history of capital formation and industrialization in other cultures. The British, German or French reader especially will note many points of similarity between this history and his/her own, but the overall patterns, the structuring of business relations, interactions between business and culture, are different in quite important ways. This complex pattern of similarity/difference will be still greater for the Brazilian, the Japanese, the Indian reader and others. In each of these cultures, the interacting patterns of cultural and economic colonization and resistance have been different, yet these stories are currently absent from the history of the development of management knowledge. Chandler (1990) has begun the project of telling the multiple stories of organizing that emerge from different countries, but much more needs to be done.Indigenizing Management Knowledges
I hope this book will strengthen arguments for the development of indigenous management knowledges by indigenizing ‘organizational science’3 itself as a discourse shaped by its culture of origin. In studying the management books, courses and seminars imported from the US, does one not find the ghost of Freeman Hunt (see Chapter 1) – the endlessly self-actualizing Protestant perfectionist, the pioneer, the self-determining and omnicompetent social participant, the ‘man [sic] of action’ who scorns reflection as impractical, the self which denies its fundamental embedded-ness in complex organizations – haunting the text as ‘the employee,’ the implicitly generic worker? To shape contemporary work practices, even in the US, to this view of the working subject is of questionable value. To export this subject worldwide is indefensible. Until texts come with a product warning (‘caution: contents are historically and culturally specific’), let the buyer beware. Particularly in the post-colonial world – the politically self-determining nations who entered industrialized world capitalism as colonies of the most industrialized nations – there is searching for regionally appropriate voices that neither fantasize about an unretrievable pre-colonial [Page xv]essence nor slavishly accept Western technologies and knowledge as representative of ‘development’ or ‘progress’. This book will not and should not attempt to contribute to the production of regional knowledges. It can, however, offer valuable assistance by helping to show that the knowledge currently exported as universally applicable objective science is profoundly shaped by its culture of origin. Hopefully, armed with this knowledge, scholars and practitioners worldwide will be better prepared to argue for the possibility of regional knowledges – a possibility foreclosed by the dominance of a form of knowledge claiming to transcend history and culture.
3 This is not to overlook the contributions of other countries, especially the UK, to this knowledge. As the US has become the preeminent economic world power, however, its ability to export a US-influenced model of the working subject worldwide has become the foremost cultural problem of organizational knowledge.
Finally, I must say that it is not my intention to replace one universal account of management development with another. Rather, by identifying the cultural and historical specificity of the account that currently presents itself as universal, I am attempting to contribute to the possibility of producing many, localized stories, each of which is understood, produced by and productive of the community to which it applies. Neither internationalism nor respect for diversity are possible as long as one cultural system is able to present itself as the objective, neutral and universal framework within which all other cultures' artifacts can be hung.‘America’ the Country/the Myth System
In order to appreciate this book, the reader must understand ‘America’ at two levels. At one level, ‘America’ is a geopolitical entity, a national affiliation claimed by most of the people who live south of Canada and north of Mexico. When speaking of this entity, I have attempted to consistently speak of the ‘US’ or, where appropriate, ‘North America’, ‘Anglo North America’ and so on. After all, the other residents of the North, Central and South Americas are also ‘American.’ But ‘America’ is also a powerful metaphor, an ethos, a vision of the good society. This imagery is not the common property of all residents of the hemisphere. The ‘American Dream’ is not equally a cultural artifact of the Québecois, the Ixtapan and the New Yorker. It is an ethos identified worldwide with the mainstream culture of the US. Baudrillard, writing primarily to a French audience, wonderfully captures the spirit of this dream in his book America:
[America] is the land of the ‘just as it is’ … yet it is all the stuff of dreams too … What you have to do is enter the fiction of America. … It is, indeed, on this fictive basis that it dominates the world…. [T]he tragedy of a Utopian dream made reality…. This is America's problem and, through America, it has become the whole world's problem…. If you are prepared to accept the consequences of your dreams – not just the political and sentimental ones, but the theoretical and cultural ones as well – then you must still regard America today with the same naive enthusiasm as the generations that discovered the New World. … If not, you have no understanding of the situation, and you will not be able to understand your own history – or the end of your history – either, because Europe can no longer be understood by starting out from Europe itself. (Baudrillard, 1989: 28–30, 98)
[Page xvi]An often-missed connection Baudrillard makes explicit is that the ‘American’ Dream is not indigenous to the Americas. It is Modern and Western European. In this sense, I will argue, the colonization of the world by American management theories and institutions represents a ‘return of the repressed’ of the first order. For those outside the US, of course, it is unlikely that these values are a part of one's cultural heritage. But, even for those within the US, this cultural context is critical to assess. As the US moves into a post-industrial and perhaps postmodern world, the core values structuring public discourse are not those of the industrial, but of the pre-industrial, the rhetoric of frontier and community that have been increasingly marginal to lived experience for decades.
In this respect, the present book could be looked at as a case study in one country's experience with capitalism, organizing and managing work. US history may represent the closest thing one can find to capitalism growing up in a vacuum, untainted by the influence of other social institutions. When industrialism recast the social topography of the US between 1870 and about 1920, neither history nor common culture, church, central government nor aristocracy was capable of effectively constituting an axis of opposition. As a result of this history, if one wishes today to examine the curious mix of benefits and weaknesses of a society where meaning must be found in one's work and in mass market consumption, the case of the US can be illustrative – and perhaps partially a warning.Sexist Language
How we speak and how we think are not independent. Thus, the old documents used in this book pose a problem regarding sexist usage of pronouns. Usually, I call attention to sexist usage in citations because I strongly believe the use of ‘he/him/his’ to represent people in general perpetuates the practice of treating men as humanity and women as a special-interest subgroup. In the historical period emphasized in this book, however, standard English usage was consistently sexist in this respect. To call attention to each instance would be distracting. Accordingly, I have adopted the following general guidelines: in my own narrative, every attempt is made to avoid sexist usage. For contemporary citations (roughly since 1970), I have denoted sexist usage through the use of ‘[sic],’ on the assumption that these authors wrote when sexist usage was being actively questioned. For historical citations, I pass on the sexist usage verbatim.Is This a ‘Postmodern’ Book?
It is sometimes said of me by colleagues that I am a postmodernist. What that might mean continues to elude me. I do believe that a relatively specific mode of consciousness and system of social relations which is exemplified by [Page xvii]the dominant strands of European and Anglo North American cultures between roughly 1600–1700 and the present can be identified. So, for that matter, did Max Weber. I also believe that certain (not all) aspects of this culture may presently be in flux. Thus, I find modernity both a sensible and an important object for analysis. If modernity is to be regarded as having an historically specific existence, it is logically necessary that there be a pre-modern and a post-modern.4 This logical categorizing, however, in no way indicates the content of these bracketing periods other than that they be ‘not modern.’ Certain things can be known or inferred about premodern Europe, but to recapture the meanings of this time as it was experienced by those within it is impossible. One can only speculate. Similarly, to imagine the postmodern from our current position within the modern should be taken as tentatively as one would take Cotton Mather's Puritan views about life in the twentieth century. After all, about five centuries elapsed between the fall of Rome and the establishment of a thoroughly non-Roman feudal order in Northern Europe. Similarly, several centuries separate the early empiricist such as Roger Bacon (1214–92) Descartes (1596–1650) and the eruption of a secular, modern social order in the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries. How much perspective, then, is it possible to expect from these early decades of analyzing the post-industrial or postmodern?
Whether the present time represents the dawn of a post-industrial or postmodern era at all is still a matter for debate. Still more contestable are opinions regarding the meanings such a transition would entail. What the postmodern/post-industrial debates should signal for business people, management professors and consultants is that these are times for thinking carefully about change, for examining the taken-for-granted, and for asking how relevant our habits of practice are to the future we participate in constructing.
This has implications for understanding the ideology embodied in this book. Like the work of Foucault, this ideology advocates questioning the status quo, but it does not do so within an established ‘radical’ context of seeking to replace one system with another. Questioning of disciplinary society cannot be reduced to ‘opposition’. That would be simplistic, a nostalgic atavism. If, today, certain aspects of hierarchy and control are becoming less prominent, the social relations that intersected to produce the normalized or ‘disciplinary’ individual – standardization, massification, interconnection, and so on – continue to exist. In fact, these networks are becoming more elaborated in post-industrial society. A view of the future cannot simply announce ‘emancipation’ from disciplinary relationships. It [Page xviii]must be more subtle, articulating different possibilities and implications that exist within these relationships.
4 While I have found no standardized usage of hyphenation regarding the term ‘postmodern,’ I have found the hyphen used more frequently by authors whose views diverge from mine than by those with whom I am in agreement. Thus, I do not hyphenate. In contrast, there appears to be something close to consensus on the hyphenation of ‘post-industrial,’ so I follow that usage.
Whatever your geographical, cultural and intellectual place of origin, welcome to my history of ‘managing for the twenty-first century.’ May your journey be an uncomfortable one!San Francisco July, 1995
What is an author? As Foucault notes in his famous essay of this title, ‘discourses are objects of appropriation.’ The author is not a creator, but a borrower; not a source, but a filter of meaning. Indeed, I share Foucault's view that in a consumer society, authorship functions more to control than to disseminate1 knowledge. Granting special status to appropriately authorized texts is an effective means of limiting and neutralizing the ‘dangerous proliferation of significations.’ Aided by this acknowledgement section (and by norms of citation), practices of authorship create a network of legitimation, permit establishment of a pedigree for knowledge and fix it in a relatively stable system of evaluation and control. As we who produce texts collude with this system, we make it unnecessary for the police to see that our papers are in order. In the auto-panoptic world of disciplinary knowledge production, we bait increasingly clever traps to catch ourselves. Merely by accepting the position of author, I implicate myself in the modern/industrial mode of rationality whose common sense this book was written to question. After all, everyone I have met and everything I have read is present in this text as a silent (perhaps a horrified) co-author. Nonetheless, my modernist sense of gratitude to several perhaps-mythical subjectivities must be gratified.
Three people deserve special mention as conditions of this book's possibility. First, Lisa Yamilkoski, my wife through the years this book took shape, has served every possible collaborative role except typing. She has been a source of intellectual, emotional and financial support; a scrutinizing editor; a proxy for that elusive creature, ‘the practitioner,’ and a very tolerant companion to a husband who can find Cotton Mather in contemporary management writing more dependably than he can find milk at the corner store. Along with Lisa, Linda Smircich and Marta Calás, dissertation mentors and friends, have been so integrally involved in the production of these ideas that it is quite impossible to imagine this book without the influence of either. If they are seldom explicitly present in the text it is because this topic only indirectly overlaps with their published work. They have done much more than producing a few ideas, however. They have been instrumental in producing the author. Every word of this book bears the mark of my relationship with these two good friends and outstanding scholars.
1 The sexualized connotation of this term should not pass without notice. It says more than it means to about knowledge as the pedigreed progeny of our patriarchs.
[Page xx]In other capacities, many have made identifiable contributions to this work. Albert Mills has been instrumental in convincing me to better reflect the role of gender in the text. Joyce Fletcher has been a partner in the development of our ideas regarding relational practices. My other dissertation committee members, Genevieve Chandler, Ann Ferguson and Tony Butterfield, have, in very different ways, each contributed valuably to my thinking. I am grateful to the doctoral students in my classes at the California School of Professional Psychology for repeatedly asking me how these ideas might influence practice in concrete organizational settings and to my program dean, Jo Sanzgiri, for doing everything possible to give a junior faculty member the space within which to write a book. For creating the incubator in which my thinking was nurtured, I thank Sarah Jacobson, Pushkala and Anshuman Prasad, Michael Cavanaugh and the rest of ‘those U. Mass. people.’ To the rest of my friends and colleagues, I apologize for not being able to recognize each of you individually. Finally, I thank Sue Jones of Sage for her encouragement and support, Hans Lock and Jane Evans for editorial assistance.
And, of course, since this book perpetuates the fiction of the author, I must recognize that while all of the above deserve to share whatever credit this book may receive, its sins of commission and omission are claimed as my exclusive property.
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