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Hierarchies and American Ideals, 1900-1940

Peter Miller and Ted O'Leary
The Academy of Management Review
Vol. 14, No. 2 (Apr., 1989), pp. 250-265
Published by: Academy of Management
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/258419
Page Count: 16
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Hierarchies and American Ideals, 1900-1940
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Abstract

This paper addresses the processes of reconciling hierarchies and American ideals and suggests ways in which the socially functional and radical traditions of corporate history could be extended to include such concerns. It focuses on the concepts through which hierarchies and managerial authority were rendered thinkable as positive components within American society and traces the formation of the notion of a dispassionate, professional managerial authority exercised through corporate hierarchies out of the ideals of American political culture. The reconciliation of hierarchy with American political culture is analyzed across the period 1900-1940 in three sections: the Progressive years, the 1920s, and the 1930s. This focus on a period that was decisive for both the modern corporation and the administrative literature associated with it provides considerable scope for extending critical studies of the corporation and management.

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