During the early years of this century, the classic factory system of the industrial revolution evolved rapidly into a new, identifiable form that would characterize American and world industry for most of the twentieth century. This transformation, as important for industrial managers, workers, and consumers as the initial creation of the factory, is the subject of Daniel Nelson’s illuminating synthesis, updated and expanded to include the scholarship of recent decades.
This edition of Managers and Workers describes the interrelations between technological and organizational innovation, including such familiar developments as the spread of mass production and the emergence of scientific management, and other developments that were little known when the first edition of this book appeared, such as the revolution in factory architecture, the changing role of the foreman, and the spread of personnel work. The volume also incorporates the best scholarship of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, some of it stimulated by Managers and Workers, and includes a new chapter on the role of organized labor in the early twentieth-century factory. The focus of the work, however, remains the individual managers and workers who created the twentieth-century factory system.
The preeminent historian of the American business firm, Alfred D. Chandler Jr. reviewed the first edition of Managers and Workers in The Journal of Economic History, predicting that this book would “long remain the standard work on the origins of the American factory.” The second edition will make that prediction true for the 1990s and beyond.