Technology, information and power: Managerial technicians in corporate America, 1917--2000
The dissertation charts the changing use made of technology in business administration during the twentieth century, from the office managers and bookkeeping machines of the 1920s to the chief information officers and personal computers of the 1990s. As computers spread, from the 1950s onward, corporate managers were more reliant than ever on administrative systems, but were forced to delegate their design and operation to a host of new specialist groups. Its primary focus is on the professional opportunities and organizational challenges arising from this influx of administrative technology. It examines the attempts of organized groups I refer to as "managerial technicians" to turn their expertise in the techniques and technologies of administrative systems into a claim to broad managerial authority. It pays particular attention to the emergence of the concept of information within corporate management, and to the use of appeals to "systems" expertise and to science to establish authority. The primary groups considered here are the office managers of the National Office Management Association, the "systems men" of the Systems and Procedures association, the punched card supervisors of the National Machine Accounting Association, data processing managers, operations research experts, management information systems specialists, and chief information officers. Each community united corporate staff with consultants, business school staff and technology suppliers. These were social movements within corporate society, as each community sought to raise its position on the organizational chart and establish itself as truly managerial rather than merely technical. This framing exposes many startling continuities, despite enormous changes in technology. Several chapters focus on attempts to create a professional identity for corporate computing staff, including the certification efforts of the Data Processing Management Association and the efforts of some within the Association for Computing Machinery to shape a broad identity I call "pan-computer professionalism." Other topics include: the original of entry of computers into corporate administration; the relationship between programming, systems analysis, and software engineering; office automation; office automation and personal computing in the 1980s; corporate computing in the 1990s; and changing labor practices in programming, data processing, and punched card work.
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|Authors:||Haigh, Thomas David|
|Type of publication:||Other|
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