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International Socialism, Summer 1966


Bernard Ross

The Birth of the Boss


From International Socialism (1st series), No.25, Summer 1966, p.30.
Thanks to Ted Crawford & the late Will Fancy.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


The Genesis of Modern Management
Sidney Pollard
Arnold, 50s

The scope of this work is deliberately restricted; it covers the traditional period of the Industrial Revolution in Britain, and uses a concept of management which is narrowly defined. Professor Pollard examines the development of large-scale capitalist enterprises, and the early attempts to meet the requirements of obtaining and controlling an industrial labour force, and of calculating and planning the costs and profits of production. He describes the process by which these pioneering efforts had by the early 19th Century resulted in the formulation of a primitive system of management theory, and the emergence of a recognisable class of salaried managers.

Pollard’s work is detailed and well-documented. His claim that it fills an important gap in the written history of the Industrial Revolution appears justified; for the professional manager occupies a significant position within developed capitalism, east and west, while the creation of a managerial class has become recognised as a major problem for those countries which are now facing industrialisation. The experience related in this book may well have relevance here.

The concern of socialists is the abolition of those elements of management which Pollard considers. This book provides an emphatic reminder that the boss was not a primeval feature of our society; he was born of the needs of capitalism, and his birth inevitably brought brutality and alienation for his victim, the industrial worker.

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