Organization Building and Labor Management: GEC and Large-Scale Electrical Manufacturing in Britain, 1918-1939

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Leading British electrical manufacturers, after the First World War, undertook extensive investments in corporate structures, factories, production methods, scientific research, and skills. Rather than being examples of managerial failure, they enhanced key internal capabilities, and built stronger business organizations. The article illustrates these developments through a study of General Electric Company, or GEC. It shows the neglected importance of labor management and the integration of the workforce to the successful building of large-scale business organizations. Drawing on themes from Business and Labor History, the GEC case reveals management and organization as dynamic processes involving interest groups, conflict, everyday interactions, motivations, mixed loyalties, and uncertain outcomes. GEC held that their strategic and organizational goals ultimately rested on improving the identification of labor with the company, minimizing resistance on the shopfloor, and maximising mutual perceptions and interests.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
JournalBusiness History Review
Publication statusSubmitted - 17 Aug 2023

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