Hired Hands of Human Resources? Case Studies of HRM Programs and Practices in Early American Industry

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[Excerpt] This book is the second volume of a two-volume set on the roots, birth, and early development of the human resource management (HRM) function in American industry. The story starts in the mid-1870s with the emergence of large-scale industry, an urban-based wage-earning workforce, and a growing labor problem heralded by the Great Railway Strike of 1877; it ends in 1932 at the nadir of the Great Depression when the nonunion welfare capitalism movement of the 1920s is in tatters and its New Deal union replacement lies just over the horizon. Between these two end points lies a remarkable half-century evolution in human resource management philosophy and practice that in cumulative form and effect can only be described as a transformation. The first volume, Managing the Human Factor: The Early History of Human Resource Management in American Industry (2008) presents the "big picture" side of the story with a broad historical account of the people, events, and ideas that together led a small band of innovative, pioneering companies to transform the way they managed their employees. Parading through these pages are the main forces and actors that revolutionized labor management a century ago. Counted in the former, for example, are the welfare, safety, and scientific management movements; the rise of trade unionism and labor law; World War I and the industrial democracy movement, and the invention of the assembly line and mass production; counted among the latter are such "big names" as Henry Towne, George Patterson, Frederick Taylor, Samuel Gompers, John D. Rockefeller Jr., Meyer Bloomfield, Walter Dill Scott, John Commons, Henry Ford, and Clarence Hicks. At the height of the HRM transformation in the late 1920s, labor management at leading companies in the United States had much greater similarityto what was to follow a half century later (in the 1980s) than to what had already passed a half century earlier (in the 1880s). This volume complements the first by filling in and rounding out the story with a set of fifteen detailed case studies of early HRM programs and practices in individual companies and industries. The time span is exactly the same as the first volume—the mid-1870s to the early 1930s—but is broken into two distinct parts. Part 1 is devoted to nine case studies that extend through the World War I years, and the six case studies of part 2 cover the 1920s and early 1930s.
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The abstract, table of contents, and first twenty-five pages are published with permission from the Cornell University Press. For ordering information, please visit the Cornell University Press at http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/.
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human resources; human resource management; history; case studies; American industry
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