Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

The Role of the British Government in the Spread of Scientific Management and Fordism in the Interwar Years

Document type Article
Author Lewchuk, Wayne
Journal The Journal of Economic History
Volume 44
Date 1984 June
ISSN 1471-6372, 0022-0507
Pages 355-361


The slowness with which British firms adopted Scientific Management and Fordism has often been noted.The paper argues that in Britain, management had difficulty controlling labor effort norms after 1870. The state intervened to resolve the issue and in the process became a major proponent of industrial democracy. It is argued that the early interest in industrial democracy retarded the adoption of American methods that assumed a greater degree of managerial control over factory organization.