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Scientific management and the pursuit of control in Britain to c.1960

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The intellectual content and intentions of scientific management theories, aimed at industrial performance and harmony, were largely absent from British management practice for a great part of the last century. The limited interpretation of scientific management in Britain was characterised by a focus on control, at the heart of which was the use of piecework. Criticisms of piecework surfaced notably in the 1960s, linked to criticisms of scientific management as a whole. This article argues that any failure of piecework was not necessarily a failure of scientific management, given the latter's diluted role in twentieth century British management practice.

Keywords: Britain; Scientific management; control; piecework

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09585200500121249

Affiliations: Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK

Publication date: July 1, 2005

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