Seminar, Malgeri Modern American Society and Culture

Back On The Clock: Labor Control in the Cold War Military’s New Workforce

Author: A. Junn Murphy, Brandeis University 
Comment: Lauren Hirshberg, Regis University

Tuesday, February 22, 2022, 5:15PM - 6:30PM

In 1911, civilian workers at the Army’s Watertown Arsenal struck against the arrival of management engineers with stopwatches, leading Congress to ban certain Taylorist methods in military and other federal workplaces. After three decades, however, the ban was lifted. What explains the military’s return to scientific management? As the Cold War defense establishment took shape, it recruited hundreds of thousands of women, minorities, and foreign nationals to work as civilian employees of the Department of Defense. It was for this feminized and otherwise marginalized new population of workers that the military resurrected a suite of management engineering methods that had previously been deemed too degrading for the government to employ.

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