This is a classic study of how managers interpret and engage problems as they are experienced and felt at various points and levels in factories and businesses. Melville Dalton, drawing on ethnographic data, examines both positive and negative interactions among managers, between managers and between workers, and managers and firms. He discusses the consequences for each group that result from their interactions. Where relevance and data allow, Dalton relates his findings to the surrounding community.
Dalton argues that the recurring problem areas in management grow out of six main areas: pressures for economy of operation; "cooperation" of officially powerless experts with their administrative superiors; local conflicts between union and management; uncertainty about the route to a place in middle and upper management; the task of recognizing and rewarding differential contributions; and the moral conflicts of the individual executive. Each of these six problem areas is made the subject of a chapter.
What emerges is a study of compromises among key individuals and groups in business organizations, and of the strictures on compromise. The book offers insights into how workplace rules, in practice, move from being sacred guides to flexible tools to balance company goals and personal ends. This volume includes a new introduction by David Shulman detailing the importance of this work more than forty years after its original publication. It is part of Transaction's Organization and Business series.
Table of Contents
Introduction to the Transaction Edition, by David Shulman
Foreword, by George H. Hildebrand
2. Managers on Paper
3. Power Struggles in the Line
4. Relations between Staff and Line
5. Local Meanings of High Level Labor Agreements
6. The Managerial Career Ladder
7. The Interlocking of Official and Unofficial Reward
8. The Interconnections of Formal and Informal Action
9. The Manager between Formal and Informal
11. Appendix on Method