Management, engineering and accountancy as determinants of change in manufacturing industry : a case study of railway mechanical engineering
This thesis examines themes from the labour process debate by analysing the history of railway owned mechanical engineering factories in Great Britain. The general history and background of the industry is described. It is then shown that within the industry there has been a development from methods of simple control toward increasing managerial control over the coordination of the labour process. It is shown that the developments identified in other theories of the transition from simple control, for example, Taylorism in the case of Braverman's theory, are partial effects of this deeper trend toward managerial control over co-ordination. A range of policies are shown to contribute to increasing managerial control over coordination. Variation within the workshop labour process is shown to be a complex phenomenon that is in part explicable by managerial rivalries. Rivalry is shown to be based on different approaches to the reproduction of the labour process; rivalry between engineering and accountancy is seen as particularly important. It is shown that engineers dominated the management of the workshops but that many of their policies were stimulated by threats to their dominance by the rise of management accountancy, the latter becoming hegemonic in the 1960s. The role of the workforce is discussed and is shown to have an impact on changes in the labour process but that this influence is heavily determined by the organization of work.