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.
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